Education and Early Childhood Development
November 20, 2018

The following statement was given today in the House of Assembly by the Honourable Al Hawkins, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development:

Provincial Government Celebrates National Child Day

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in this Honourable House to recognize November 20 as National Child Day, a celebration of children’s rights.

The members of this House of Assembly are wearing blue ribbons today to recognize National Child Day, which commemorates Canada’s adoption of two documents focused on children's rights: the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

National Child Day demonstrates our commitment to ensuring all children are treated with dignity and respect. This commitment includes the opportunity for children to have a voice, to be protected from harm, to be provided with their basic needs, and to have every opportunity to reach their full potential.

Mr. Speaker, this past Friday I had the opportunity to tour the new Pumpkin House Child Care Centre in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, scheduled to open in spring 2019. With a contribution of more than $905,000, through the Child Care Capacity Initiative, the new 93-space child care centre will mean greater child care capacity in the community.

As a government, we recognize that child care plays a vital role in the healthy development of children and the well-being of families throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. We remain committed to enhancing access to quality, affordable early learning and child-care opportunities through The Way Forward and the Education Action Plan. In December of 2017, our government and the Federal Government signed a three-year bilateral agreement on early learning and child care that allocated just over $22 million over three years to Newfoundland and Labrador for early learning and child care investments. This funding is assisting the development and implementation of innovative approaches to address early learning and child care challenges through subsidies, grants, bursaries and professional learning opportunities. In addition, as of April 2018, the additional 180 space target for the Operating Grant Program was achieved.

Mr. Speaker, I ask children, parents, early childhood educators, teachers and members to join with me in celebrating National Child Day. Working together, we can ensure we are acting in the best interests of the child while ensuring children have the right to primary consideration in all economic, social and political decisions that impact upon them.

Thank you Mr. Speaker.

2018 11 20                              2:00 p.m.