April 19, 2021 – Today’s federal budget is historic. BGC Canada applauds the funding in Budget 2021 that will have a significant impact on young people and their families, including a national child care program for early years and school-aged children, stronger focus on youth employment and mental health, funding for after-school and STEM programs, and an extension of pandemic relief programs.
We are also thrilled to see that the federal government has responded to our sector’s call-to-action by creating a $400 million temporary Community Services Recovery Fund to help charities and nonprofits, including our Clubs, adapt and modernize so we can better support economic recovery in communities across the country. This targeted support will allow community service organizations of all sizes to address challenges caused by COVID-19, prevent the loss of much-needed community-based services, and bridge vital organizations to the other side of the pandemic. A special thanks to our charity partners United Way Centraide Canada, YMCA Canada, YWCA Canada, The National Association of Friendship Centres, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada.
“As economist Armine Yalnizyan has said, “there will be no recovery without a ‘she-covery,’ and there can be no ‘she-covery’ without child care,”” says Owen Charters, President & CEO, BGC Canada. “The impacts of COVID-19 on children and families have been significant and uneven; too many families are struggling. The commitment of up to $30 billion in Budget 2021 for a national Early Learning and Child Care system, and $100 million to expand after-school programming, will positively impact the next generation and kickstart the she-covery. And additional financial support for community service charities such as our Clubs will be critical in bridging the pandemic and allowing our organizations to continue playing a meaningful role in this country’s social safety net.”
Budget 2021 provides critical investments and commitments to support communities, particularly the most vulnerable, through the pandemic and as we work together on equitable recovery.
- Pan-Canadian Early Learning and Child Care: As a large nonprofit provider of child care, Clubs across Canada see firsthand the critical importance of safe, high-quality care and programs for children, caregivers, communities, and our economy. A commitment of up to $30 billion over the next 5 years, and $8.3 billion ongoing, for Early Learning and Child Care and Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care will greatly support provinces and territories in addressing child care labour shortages, increasing access to program spaces, and ensuring services are affordable for families. We look forward to quickly working with all levels of government, including through the proposed National Advisory Council, to create a sustainable, nonprofit-led national system that is affordable, inclusive, and accessible.
- After-School Programs: An investment of over $100 million to expand after-school programming under the Supports for Student Learning Program will help Clubs and other after-school providers give even more vulnerable youth across Canada the help they need to realize academic success and positive mental health.
- Mental Health: $600 million over three years for a mental health and wellness strategy with First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation, along with $100 million over three years to support innovative mental health interventions for populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, will have a long-term ripple effect on our most vulnerable communities and help Clubs and other nonprofits put young people and families first as we look to recovery.
- Youth Employment: Vulnerable youth face multiple barriers to employment; federal funding to create 220,000 youth-focused jobs over the next two years will be critical to their success, including many of the young people served by our Clubs.
- Food Security: Throughout the pandemic, Clubs have seen an increased need for food security programs in communities across the country; a $140 million top up to the Emergency Food Security Fund and Local Food Infrastructure Fund will go a long way towards strengthening food security in Canada.
- Extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS), and Lockdown Support: Many Clubs across the country have only been able to meet the pandemic-driven demand for their programs and services through the help of the CEWS, CERS, and Lockdown Support—the extension of these programs until September 2021 will allow us to further support over 6,000 staff, 70% of which are women.
- Youth & STEM Education: 3 million more young people across the country will benefit from increased investment in CanCode; our Kid Tech Nation program, funded by CanCode, introduces young people to coding and digital skills and engages youth that are typically underrepresented in STEM fields: girls, Indigenous children, newcomer youth, and children living in low-income families.
- Recreation & Sport: $80 million over two years for Canadian Heritage to remove barriers to sport and help Clubs and other community organizations provide accessible, organized sport will play a critical role in the physical and mental health of our young people.
About BGC Canada
For 120+ years, BGC Canada has been creating opportunities for millions of Canadian kids and teens. As Canada’s largest child and youth serving charitable organization, our Clubs open their doors to young people and their families at 775 locations nationwide. During out-of-school hours in small and large cities, and rural and Indigenous communities, our trained staff and volunteers provide programs and services that help young people realize positive outcomes in self-expression, academics, healthy living, physical activity, job readiness, mental health, leadership, and more. Opportunity changes everything.