Funding for national childcare system an opportunity for parents to create daycare co-ops

SASKATOON, SK, April 21, 2021 — The Government of Canada’s commitment to building a national daycare system is an opportunity for rural and Indigenous communities to expand much-needed childcare capacity. Parents could take this process into their own hands by creating daycare co-operatives.

In its recently released budget, the federal government committed to implementing a “Canada-wide, community-based system of quality childcare” with an investment of $30 billion over five years. Its goal is for all families in Canada to have access to affordable, flexible childcare no matter where they live.

Rural and Indigenous communities often lack childcare options — they also know that to get services generally means doing it themselves. Forming a co-op is an excellent solution to that kind of problem. By starting a daycare co-op, parents create an organization they control and that meets their specific needs.

“There are many daycare co-operatives in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, but they are less common in other provinces,” said Co-operatives First’s Executive Director, Audra Krueger. “Our organization was pleased to present the idea to a group of parents in Smoky Lake, Alberta, who went on to create the first daycare co-op in their province. This federal budget commitment is an exciting opportunity for parents in other communities to do the same.”

Though more details about the program have yet to be released, Co-operatives First encourages the government to provide funding to groups who start their own daycare centres through this initiative. This will increase available childcare spaces in the communities that need it most.


Audra Krueger
Executive Director, Co-operatives First
(306) 382-4410



Co-operatives First is a non-profit organization funded by Federated Co-operatives Limited and the Co-operative Retailing System. Founded in 2015, the organization provides co-op start-up resources, such as feasibility studies, business plans, and incorporation support to rural and Indigenous co-op entrepreneurs across western Canada. Our goal is to help leaders in these communities build new businesses, grow local economies, and support community development.

“Heather and the team at Co-operatives First are top-notch. Not only their knowledge but their understanding of the project. They have truly helped us along every step of the way. Their timely response and knowledge of the steps are extraordinary. They are forthcoming with information. This is one of the most knowledgeable and friendliest teams I have ever had the pleasure of working with.”

Weyburn Theatre

“Co-operatives First made the process of establishing our Artisan Co-operative a very clear and easy process. The expanse of available tools and resources provided by Co-operatives First answers many questions and lightens the workload. Greatly appreciate having the connections made with Trista and Kyle, they keep the co-operative moving forward.”

Nehiyawaskiy Indigenous Peoples Art Co-op

“Our experience working with the Co-operatives First team was absolutely fabulous. The staff was accommodating, knowledgeable and patient. It was truly a breath of fresh air to have such a wealth of skill and resources available to a non-profit. They were invaluable to our successful launch!”

Heart Linked Community Services Cooperative

“Working with Co-operatives First was fantastic! We are still new to the cooperative world, and we relied heavily on their advice and expertise when drafting our rules/bylaws, and our memorandum of association. The team has experience with many different cooperative models, so they provided advice on what has and hasn’t worked for other cooperatives. We wouldn’t have been able to incorporate without their help!”

Ananda Cooperative

“We have had a very positive experience with everyone at Co-operatives First. They have helped us in multiple ways. Right from the first step in knowing how to incorporate, how to set our business and offering ideas for us to help steer us in the right direction plus allowing us to really make our own decisions. If our decisions go off track, they have gently guided us back to where we needed to be. The Co-operatives first guys are always eager to answer questions, and give ideas to us that got us off the ground.”

South East Butcher Block