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Nova Scotia fees for licensed daycares to drop another 25 per cent on Dec. 31


Daycare fees are to drop a further 25 per cent in Nova Scotia beginning Dec. 31, under a $605-million funding agreement between the federal and provincial governments signed in 2021.

The new drop in fees builds on a 25 per cent reduction that took effect April 1, Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Becky Druhan said Monday. With the latest cut, Druhan told reporters, fees will be 50 per cent lower, on average, compared to 2019 for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

"For many families, child care is the top household expense, equal to or more than rent or a mortgage payment," she said during the announcement at a daycare in Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley. "Now more than ever, Nova Scotian families need affordability."

Druhan said parents with an infant in licensed daycare will pay $23 less per day, or about $6,000 less a year, compared with 2019, while those with a toddler and preschooler in child care will pay $36 less per day, or about $9,000 less a year, compared with the same period. As well, about 3,000 families who use the province's child-care subsidy program will see their fees reduced to zero, the minister added.

The latest cut in fees will cost $76 million and will be funded by an envelope of $605 million that was set up under the joint provincial-federal child-care agreement. Nova Scotia's deal with Ottawa is to create 9,500 daycare spaces costing an average of $10 a day by March 2026.

In June, the province said 1,500 new licensed early learning and child-care spaces would be created by the end of this year, but Druhan said Monday that only 1,100 of the new spaces would be available as scheduled, with hundreds more to come over the winter.

Karina Gould, federal minister of families, children and social development, was on hand for the announcement, which she described as good for the province's economy. Gould pointed out that Quebec has had universal child care for 25 years.

"(Quebec) has the highest proportion of women with children under the age of four in the workforce in the country," she said.

Julie MacNabb, a parent whose child has attended the Auburn, N.S., daycare, where Monday's announcement was made, said the fee reduction is about creating equity for children and families. McNabb said she recently returned to work following a maternity leave.

"Some women don't have that opportunity; they are leaving their jobs and they are having to reduce their hours," she said. "Having quality, affordable child care gives us the opportunity to contribute to our local labour market."

The funding announced Monday is in addition to an early childhood educator wage package announced last month that increased wages by about 30 per cent, at a cost of about $100 million a year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2022. Top Stories


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