On July 28, the Governments of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador announced a child care funding agreement that has the potential of transforming early learning and child care in the province. Through this agreement, Newfoundland and Labrador will receive more than $347 million between 2021-22 and 2025-26 to implement its Early Learning and Child Care Action Plan, which will increase access to child care, lower parent fees and improve the quality and inclusivity of programs.
When the agreement was announced,the Newfoundland and Labrador government committed to a public consultation on the changes ahead. It begins with an online forum seeking feedback on three key questions.
- The transition from unregulated to regulated child care services
Newfoundland and Labrador still has a lot of unregulated child care despite the many benefits of regulated service provision. The provincial government wants to hear from unregulated child care operators about why they are choosing not to be regulated, and wants to know from regulated child care services what challenges they faced in becoming regulated. This is also an opportunity for parents, policy experts and others to express concerns about the lack of regulated services and the need for expansion.
- Ongoing opportunities and challenges for regulated child care services.
Not enough has been done to support regulated child care service providers or families looking for licensed child care spaces. The provincial government wants to hear from regulated child care service providers to help identify what the government must do to support the sector, which has routinely faced underpayment, undervaluation, and poor working conditions. The government also wants to hear from families with children, many of whom have experienced difficulty in obtaining a licensed child care space, about what changes they want to see.
- Potential enhancements to the Child Care Act and regulations (legislative review).
The Child Care Act and its associated regulations set the parameters for the operations of regulated child care services in Newfoundland and Labrador. The government wants to hear what must change in the Act to best support regulated child care operators in providing accessible, affordable, and high quality child care.
Get involved and offer your input here.