The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on National Child Day:
“On National Child Day, we celebrate our greatest asset: our children and young people. We also highlight their rights and recognize that each of us has a role to play to ensure all children are always treated with dignity and respect, and have the love and support they need to thrive in life.
“Every child deserves the opportunity to succeed and reach their full potential. That is why the Government of Canada is helping families with the Canada Child Benefit. Every month, this revolutionary social measure ensures that more children can succeed and achieve their dreams. Since its introduction, this benefit has significantly helped to reduce child poverty and put more money in the pockets of about nine out of ten Canadian families. It is also one of the government’s important initiatives that have helped lift more than one million Canadians out of poverty since 2015.
“We also know that child care needs to be more accessible, affordable, inclusive, and high quality. That’s why we have provided significant support to this sector over the past few years. This year alone, we have invested more than $1 billion – the largest investment ever made by the Government of Canada – in early learning and child care. In addition, as committed in the Speech from the Throne, we will make a significant, long-term, sustained investment to create a Canada-wide early learning and child care system.
“We have made a lot of progress over the past few years, but we know there is still work to be done to ensure that all children and youth can learn and thrive in a safe and healthy way. The Government of Canada, with Indigenous partners, co-developed the Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families to reform child and family services. It also contributes to Indigenous children staying with their families and in their communities. In addition, the Act establishes national principles including the best interests of the child, cultural continuity, and substantive equality.
“Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the past year has been different and difficult. Children and youth have needed to give up their extracurricular activities, distance from their friends, and adapt to online learning. Some are worried about their future, and that's okay. It hasn’t been easy, but we recognize the significant efforts and sacrifices our children have made to help support their parents, and to protect their grandparents and our front line workers.
“The Government of Canada has been, and will always be, there for them. By providing funding to Kids Help Phone, we have supported children and youth with mental health supports. In addition, to help families deal with the impacts of COVID-19, we provided additional support of up to $300 per child for families already receiving the Canada Child Benefit. And, through an investment under the Safe Return to Class Fund, we supported the provinces and territories to ensure the safety of students, and to contribute to their development and success.
“Sophie and I invite all Canadians to join us in celebrating National Child Day. Our children and youth are the leaders of today and tomorrow. Together, we can build a more resilient Canada and a better future for everyone.”