The province is investing $5 million to create 400 new child-care subsidies.
Community Services Minister Denise Peterson-Rafuse announced the new funding for families at Mawio’mi Child Care Centre in Dartmouth yesterday.
“The shortest and the best route to making Nova Scotia a better place for us is to invest in the early years,” she said in making the announcement. “Our children are the ones who are going to build a successful province.”
The 400 new subsidies bring the provincial total to 1,100. The subsidies will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, with Peterson-Rafuse encouraging those who apply to contact their child-care provider or the Community Services office first.
Peterson-Rafuse also announced the government will eliminate the Assessed Daily Parent Fee, which she said would save families on subsidies up to $1 per day. According to Community Services, the elimination of the fee equals an investment worth approximately $800,000.
Child-care workers will also receive more funding from the province. The government is set to combine two existing grants for child-care professionals into one — the Early Childhood Enhancement Grant. The grant goes toward salaries, benefits and general operating expenses.
Peterson-Rafuse said the government will also provide an additional $2 million for the grant, bringing it up to $15 million annually for full- and part-day child-care facilities.
“It’s hard financial times, but this is the time to do framework and work in partnerships to plan for the future,” she said.
CUPE Nova Scotia president Danny Cavanagh said in a release yesterday the funding was welcome news, but he raised questions about an industry he called “starved for funding.”
“This continues the practice of giving public money to private operators,” he said. “They have announced 400 new spaces, but those spaces … can be used in for-profit as well as not-for-profit centres.”