Applications open for designated child-care spaces in New Brunswick

Click to play video: 'Funding opens to increase child care spaces in New Brunswick'
Funding opens to increase child care spaces in New Brunswick
WATCH: The New Brunswick provincial government has been working for years to open up more child care spaces as part of a goal to create 3,400 locations by 2026. As Anna Mandin reports, funding applications are open for child care operators in hopes of further reaching their goal. – Dec 1, 2023

The New Brunswick government has opened applications for child-care operators as part of its goal to meet a funding agreement with the federal government.

As part of the Canada-New Brunswick Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, the province set a goal of creating 3,400 child-care spaces by 2026. The province still has to fill about 1,800 more spaces.

Liberal MLA Francine Landry said the proposal will help create more places for parents to send their children.

“There’s a lot of people that want to work in the daycare sector. So it may be an opportunity to create more jobs,” she said.

It’s the second time the government has made a call for proposals, with the first ending in March. That call only involved 603 spaces, but this call will remain open until all of the spaces are filled.

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“There are a number of changes from the approach that was taken then to the approach that is taken now, and that’s because of the feedback that we got from operators and from families from that first call for proposal,” Ryan Donaghy, the anglophone education deputy minister, said in a press conference.

Donaghy said the locations of the spaces this proposal offers are better informed by where people will go for child care. The proposal allocated spaces based on factors like census data and a provincial waitlist that currently has 3,302 children on it.

That list doesn’t include data from the daycare waitlist, and the province instead relies on parents registering their children on it.

“That’s why we’re going to keep pushing the message, we have a marketing campaign, we’re encouraging daycares to ask their parents to go put their names on the list,” Donaghy said.

The federal funding requires New Brunswick to prioritize not-for-profit organizations for spaces. Education Minister Bill Hogan said he’s in discussions with the federal government to increase the number of for-profit spaces, but he would be happy to see all the not-for-profit spaces filled.

“The quicker we can distribute the spaces that we have to the citizens of the province, the happier I’m going to be,” he said.

The call for proposals will remain open until every space is allocated.

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Advocates emphasize need on national day for child care action

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