Nova Scotia reduces child-care fees again

Reduction is part of federal initiative to cut fees to $10 a day in Nova Scotia by 2026

Nova Scotia families will see child-care fees further reduced on Dec. 31.

“We will be making a further reduction to child-care costs for infants, toddlers, and pre-schoolers in Nova Scotia, bringing the total average reduction for these families to 50 per cent,” said Early Childhood Development Minister Becky Druhan on Monday.

This reduction follows a previous cut of 25 per cent made in April. The current average Nova Scotia child-care fees are 50 per cent lower than the average in 2019.

Druhan also announced that roughly 3,000 families who use Nova Scotia’s Child Care Subsidy Program will receive child care at no cost.

In attendance was Karina Gould, federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

Ottawa has promised Nova Scotia $605 million in federal funding over five years to reduce child-care costs and expand quality spaces by 2026.

“We agreed that in the first year of this agreement, by the end of 2022, all provinces and territories would reach a 50 per cent reduction in child-care fees,” said Gould. “Nova Scotia’s announcement today meets that objective.”

The province said it is on track to have a $10-a-day average for child-care fees by 2026.

Community response 

The announcement was made at Stepping Stone Preschool and Child Care Centre in Kings County. Owner Margo Thomas said this reduction helps women contribute to the economy.

“This Canada-wide early learning child-care system is crucial and essential for our underrepresented work groups in our workforce, like women and single parent families,” said Thomas.

Julie MacNabb, whose children attend Stepping Stone, said many women are not able to take time off, and with this reduction, more women will join the labour market.

“I want to say, as a parent, how important these reduced fees are to enable us to be able to contribute to our economy,” said MacNabb.

The future of Nova Scotia child care

The province said earlier this year that there would be 1,500 new early learning and child-care spaces before the end of the year.

Monday’s news release, however, stated that only 1,100 new child-care spaces will be created by the end of 2022.

Druhan said that there will be more announcements in 2023, with a focus on benefits for early childhood educators (ECE).

The province has already invested $100 million a year towards higher wages for ECE’s, with most seeing 14 to 43 per cent wage increases.

“We’re transforming our early learning and child-care sector and building a true system … that supports ECE’s and operators with stable funding,” said Druhan.

Jake Webb

Jake Webb is a fourth-year student in the Bachelor of Journalism (Honours) program at the University of King's College.

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