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New Brunswick reduces child-care fees by 50 per cent

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick cutting day care fees in half ahead of schedule'
New Brunswick cutting day care fees in half ahead of schedule
WATCH: The federal and provincial government have announced they will reduce child care fees in New Brunswick by 50 per cent, six months ahead of schedule. Nathalie Sturgeon has more on the announcement. – Apr 25, 2022

The New Brunswick provincial government, alongside the federal government, has announced it is reducing child-care fees by 50 per cent about six months ahead of the scheduled reduction.

It’s part of the Canada-New Brunswick Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care agreement, previously announced in December 2021.

After taking some time to make paper airplanes with some kids at Au P’tit Monde de Franco Inc., a French daycare service, New Brunswick Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development Dominic Cardy announced the decision alongside federal Families, Children and Social Development Minister Karina Gould.

“Altogether, as of June 1, the provincial average daily cost for pre-school care is lowered to $12.82 from the current $25.21,” Cardy said on Monday.

Read more: Trudeau, Higgs promise $10-a-day child care across New Brunswick within next 5 years

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It’s a standardized low-fee model that will determine how much operators can charge families. It accompanies the parent subsidy.

The parent subsidy helps provide financial support to families of children five and under who are low- and middle-income.

“If you want to build a world-class education system, you need to promote continuity of learning from birth all through to graduation,” he said.

Families with children aged five and under can expect the following reductions for out-of-pocket costs for full-day early learning and care:

  • From $37.50 to $19 per day for infants in small urban and rural areas.
  • From $41.30 to $21 per day for infants in large urban areas.
  • From between $32.60 and $31.30 to $16 per day for pre-school-aged children in small urban and rural areas.
  • From between $36.70 and $35 to $18 per day for pre-school-aged children in urban areas.

According to the department, when combined with the parent subsidy, the new model reduces a family’s child-care costs by about $14 per day on average, depending on household income.

“This could reduce annual child-care costs by about $3,900 per child for New Brunswick families,” the department said.

As for the accelerated timeline, Cardy said it was a direct result of the province’s surplus position.

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Read more: Child care in Canada — A look at the deals signed by each province and territory

“In this case, what matters is early childhood education and getting the program rolled out as quickly as possible,” he said. “I’m thrilled that we were able to use our sound fiscal management to bring a concrete benefit of that management to New Brunswick families in the form of significant reduction they are going to get starting June 1.”

There are more benefits to the announcement than just affordability, Cardy said. It also allows mothers and women to re-enter the workforce and boost the economy.

“Early childhood education is critical to the education system,” he said.

Gould reinforced the idea that investing in child care and early learning goes beyond the families benefiting.

“There is a necessity here,” she said, speaking to reporters Monday in Fredericton. “It’s also an economic driver. We have 25 years of experience in Quebec now that demonstrates (it). Quebec, in 1998, went from having the lowest female workforce in the country to having the highest. For every dollar invested in early learning and child care, you see $1.40, $1.80 returned to the economy.”

The province and federal government are aiming to reduce daily child-care costs to just $10 per day by 2026.

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The federal-provincial funding agreement invests $544 million over five years.

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