PEI and New Brunswick have signed bilateral agreements with the federal government to expand and improve early learning and child care services. The bilateral agreements give New Brunswick $30 million, while PEI receives $10.5 million for a total of $40.5 million over three years.
“The federal funding commitment is a good first step and we are glad to see both provinces are planning to use the money to address at least some of the gaps in child care, however, we’ll be pushing for more funding and the development of a better policy framework over the next few years so that a universal child care system in Canada can be developed,” said Morna Ballantyne, Executive Director for the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada.
Ballantyne noted that the agreements cover a three-year period, from 2017 to 2020. She said the CCAAC will work closely with child care advocates in the Atlantic region to monitor the implementation of the provincial action plans and to identify further measures that require federal support.
“We are disappointed that the federal-provincial child care agreements were developed behind closed doors without the involvement of child care advocates and those working in the child care sector, and we are determined that the next round of negotiations will be more inclusive, responsive and transparent,” said Ballantyne.
The PEI agreement promises an increase in the number of child care spaces for infants, as well as a response to the needs of parents who do seasonal and shift work. The New Brunswick government, which also announced its own new child care funding commitment of $41 million, will focus on converting at least 300 existing child care programs into new Early Learning Centres to address quality concerns, lower parent fees and provide inclusive programmes.
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