Nova Scotia Child Care Transformation: Information for Operators

We are on a 5-year journey to build a system of child care that is inclusive, affordable, and accessible. We are committed to moving forward together with the people who serve families and children. This includes operators and Early Childhood Educators.
 


NS Canada-Wide Agreement

The Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement is a five-year federal-provincial agreement which was signed on July 13, 2021.

The long-term vision is to provide families with access to affordable, high-quality and inclusive child care province wide.

Key milestones for 2022 include:

  • April 1, 25 per cent, on average, parent fee reduction
  • Establish the Engagement Table on Early Learning and Child Care
  • Improve ECE wages based on new compensation framework (Fall)
  • Reduce parent fees by a total of 50 per cent, on average (December)
  • 1,500 new early learning and child care spaces (December)


How it works: 25 per cent fee reduction

Funded Centres

Centres that have signed the 2022-23 Quality Investment Grant (QIG) Funding Agreement will receive funding to directly replace fee reductions. The first advance will arrive in bank accounts on April 1, 2022. QIG funding and funding for fee reductions cannot be advanced to operators until funding agreements are signed and received by the Department.

Distributing the Fee Reduction

After April 1, licensed, funded operators must apply fee reductions directly to families’ accounts. If you have questions, please contact the Department as quickly as possible.

Retroactive Fee Reduction Payment (January 1 – March 31, 2022)

Funding will be provided directly to licensed, funded centres before the end of April 2022, who will then work with families to determine if they would like a credit or reimbursement for fees paid between January 1 and March 31. The expectation is that the operators pass on reimbursement to families no later than by the end of May, 2022.

Unfunded Centres

Centres that choose not to sign the 2022-23 Quality Investment Grant (QIG) Funding Agreement will not have access to funding to directly replace fee reductions, the one-time grant, or funding to offer the wage and compensation package for Early Childhood Educators, planned for Fall 2022.

Unfunded centres will continue to have access to the following:

  • All licensed child care centres, regardless of funding, can access the Child Care Subsidy Program for families when needed.
  • Current licence will remain unchanged.

Daily Fee Reduction Amounts by Age Category

25 per cent fee reduction per day:
(Amounts based on average provincial child care fees reported to EECD by funded licensed child care centres).
Infant $10.50
Toddler $9.00
Preschooler: Part Day $3.75
Preschooler: Full Day $8.75
School Age: Full Day $6.75
School Age: Before School & After School $5.00
School Age: After School Only $4.00
School Age Before School Only $3.00
Nova Scotia Before and After Program (NS-BAP)
Before & After School Care          $4.25
After School Care Only   $3.25
Before School Care Only $1.50

Each of these age categories is defined in the Early Learning and Child Care Regulations. Definitions are as follows:

  • “Infant” means a child who is younger than 18 months old.
  • “Toddler” means a child who is between 18 months old and 35 months old, inclusive.
  • “Preschooler” means a child who is 36 months old or older and is not attending school.
  • “School-age child” means a child who is attending school and is not older than 12 on December 31 of the school year.
  • “School-age program” means a child-care program that provides childcare for children attending school or a pre-primary program.


Frequently asked questions

What financial support exists for operators?

All operators have been offered a new 2022-23 Funding Agreement, effective April 1, 2022. Virtually all centres have accepted the agreement. By doing so, they have access to the following: 

  • Additional funding to offset the April 1, 2022, 25 per cent fee reduction for parents.
  • Funding for the retroactive fee reduction reimbursement for parents from January 1 - March 31, 2022.
  • One-time grant.

We want all operators to succeed. If you are experiencing financial challenges, please reach out to your Early Childhood Development Consultant directly to discuss available support.


ECE’s

What’s the status of the ECE compensation framework?

This is important and urgent work and we remain committed and on track for this Fall.


Are there enough ECEs to support space expansion?

We certainly recognize how in-demand Early Child Educators are both here at home and across the country. That is why, as we work to increase child care spaces, we will also continue to implement Nova Scotia’s Excellence in Early Childhood Education Workforce Strategy. Ultimately it will result in higher wages for early childhood educators (ECEs), benefits and further professionalization of the sector.

ECE wages are a critical part of attracting and retaining educators needed to achieve the vision of affordable, accessible, inclusive and quality child care. This is a top priority.


What’s being done to support ECE education and recruitment?

Through the ECE Workforce Strategy, we have awarded approximately $1.4 million in bursaries to over 250 full-time ECE diploma students and have fully funded over 400 seats in the accelerated ECE diploma program. The accelerated program allows those working in the sector to continue working while earning their ECE diploma.


What is the status of the central organization?

Earlier this year, operators were provided information on what a new central organization could look like. The role and function of the Central Organization will be brought the Engagement Table for discussion.


Can I apply to increase spaces?

At this time, we are supporting overall system growth through our Expression of Interest (EOI) process.


I’m a private business interested in going non-profit. What supports exist?

We’ve developed a new voluntary pilot project where private operators can choose to dissolve and resume under an existing not-for-profit or new not-for-profit board of directors.

The results of the pilot will be used to provide information on what’s involved and the best way to move forward. Transition to a not-for-profit model is not required to access reduced parent fees, improved compensation for ECEs, or future funding agreements. If you’re interested in learning more about the pilot, please contact: Josh MacDonald at Josh.MacDonald@novascotia.ca or by phone at 902-717-0679.


Can I sell my business and licence?

Buyers of private child care businesses (e.g. sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, limited company) are eligible to apply for a new licence to acquire a currently licensed child care centre if they wish to do so.

A licence may be provided to the new owner with the same total licence capacity as the acquired centre, provided the new owner meets all requirements under the Act and Regulations and supports the same community of families.

For those considering this change, please reach out to ECDServices@NovaScotia.ca, and we will let you know what will be required by EECD to complete this change. As always, it is strongly advised that transactions of this nature are explored fully with qualified business and legal advisors.


Are the options presented to private operators in January still available?

Options as presented in January no longer exist. In place of the options, all operators were offered a 2022-23 funding agreement which includes funding to support the reduction of parent fees by 25 per cent and a one-time grant to offset pressures and transition.

We also heard that there was interest from some operators in the options put forward in January. The voluntary pilot project will support operators that want to transition their business model from private to not-for-profit. Any operator interested should reach out to the department.

If you have any further questions or need assistance, you can contact EECD at ECDServices@NovaScotia.ca