- Do you plan to implement the bilateral funding agreement for child care in Nova Scotia?
If so, how would you like to see it implemented?
Yes, we are proud to be one of the first jurisdictions in Canada to achieve a deal with the federal government that will see $10 a day childcare implemented by 2026.
The agreement will create 9,500 new childcare spaces including, increased spaces for infants and toddlers. Priority will be given to vulnerable and equity seeking families. The agreement will also be expanding ‘wrap around’ programs for 3-5 years-olds. The addition of 7,500 new ‘wrap around’ spaces by 2026, will create a seamless day for children and provide more flexible hours for working parents.
We will train hundreds of new ECEs and help those currently working in the sector upgrade their certification by providing funding for tuition and books.This investment includes designated seats for Mi’kmaq and Indigenous people, Black and African Nova Scotians, Acadian and francophone Nova Scotians and newcomers.
- How will you ensure that Early Childhood Educators are properly compensated and educated?
Through the $10.9 million federal-provincial Workforce Strategy we are training hundreds more ECEs and providing free tuition and books for over 300 staff currently working in child care and pre-primary without a diploma. This investment includes designated seats for Mi’kmaq and Indigenous people, Black and African Nova Scotians, Acadian and francophone Nova Scotians and newcomers. We are also providing bursaries to 300 students currently enrolled in full-time ECE diploma/degree programs in Nova Scotia, and more for students from equity-seeking groups.
A new provincial organization will oversee the management of all child care operations, including parent fees, wages, policies and funding. Under this agreement, all currently funded operators and agencies, both commercial and not-for-profit will have access to funding, including the wage package for Early Childhood Educators (ECEs).
- Will you commit to only expanding in the non-profit or public sector?
Yes. Although funding will be made available to all providers, money to expand centres will only be allotted to the public, non-profit sector. This is agreed upon by both the federal and provincial governments as a key measure in the new agreement.
- Do you plan to create a public school program for three year olds, as proposed in the bilateral funding agreement?
All operators will have access to the funding, including the reduction of parent fees, the workforce development funds and the wage package for ECEs, once it is developed.
There is a role for all currently funded centres and agencies in the province, commercial and not for profit. There will be a new organization that will oversee the management of all child care operations, including parent fees, wages, policies and funding.
- According to the agreement, $10 a day is the goal for cost, with a goal of 50% by next year. How would you like to see fees be determined? Will there be a dollar amount cap for the 50%?
As mentioned above, a new provincial organization is being created to oversee the management of all child care operations, including parent fees, wages, policies and funding. By the end of next year, families can expect to pay 50% of what they are currently paying for childcare. There will be a freeze on new increases in fees while the funding model is worked out and finalized.
- Do you plan to ensure that school-aged kids up to the age of 12 have access to regulated, seamless care (before and after school, March break, summer break)?
The implementation of the new agreement and the provincial organization that will oversee childcare in Nova Scotia may lead to increased capacity to expand the existing offerings to school-aged children 7 and older.
- What do you plan to do to support indigenous child care both on and off reserve?
We commit to creating inclusive education and care for Indigenous families and children. We want all children to have access to affordable, culturally appropriate care in their communities. We will fund designated seats for Mi’kmaq and Indigenous people to train or upgrade their existing designation. We will strive to have ECEs working in communities where they have roots and invest in centres that have a history in the communities they serve.
- Based on the agreement, by the year 2026 there will only be enough spaces for 59% coverage for children under the age of 6 and a goal to have 60% of ECEs certified. This agreement does not go far enough to implement a universal system of early and child care. Will you commit to a timeline to achieve a universal, seamless, fully not-for-profit and publicly-managed system for all children under the age of 12?
This program is a major step forward for the accessibility of childcare in Nova Scotia representing the largest ever investment in childcare in the province’s history. It will save families hundreds of dollars a month and let parents enter or re-enter the workforce or pursue higher education. We will achieve the goal of having a centrally managed system. Currently, commercial centres have a high degree of capacity in the childcare sector in Nova Scotia, there is a place for all centres as we move forward to achieving our goal of making care accessible to all Nova Scotians.