The province is rolling out a new grant program as a part of its initiative to increase the number of available spaces in licensed child care facilities.
The grants, totaling $750,000, are designed to help unlicensed child care operators obtain certification.
Under the province’s larger $1-billion child care initiative, only licensed facilities qualify for programs such as a fee-reduction subsidy.
Unlicensed child care providers are allowed to provide care to a maximum of two kids that aren’t related to them, or to a sibling group.
The province said the grants will provide financial assistance to allow them to become licensed family or in-home multi-age (IHMA) child care providers, which would permit them to care for up to seven or eight children.
“It’s start-up funding, so there’s $500 start-up funding depending on the number of spaces that they are licensed for,” said Minister of State for Child Care Katrina Chen.
The grants will provide up to $4,500 for operators seeking an IMHA license, and up to $4,000 for those seeking a family child care licence. They include a $500 up-front payment, plus $500 per child care space created.
Chen said the money can be used to cover a number of costs, including training fees, application fees, hiring replacement staff to cover time spent taking courses and to buy equipment.
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The province is also in the process of rolling out a new capital grant program.
Chen said details of the grants, which are for new or expanding facilities, will be available as soon as the government hammers out the fine points.
“It should come out hopefully in the coming week or two, we’re just doing a lot of the final tweaks and scheduling right now,” she said.
“We’re going to roll out the funding program as an ongoing process so providers can apply at any time, which will work better for providers.”
It’s not clear yet which providers will be eligible for the grants.
The NDP budgeted $27 million for 2018/2019 to create 22,000 new child care spaces.