Co-operatives First helping entrepreneurs start new daycares in Saskatchewan

Click to play video: 'Co-operative daycares strengthen communities, ease daycare access woes: entrepreneurship expert'
Co-operative daycares strengthen communities, ease daycare access woes: entrepreneurship expert
WATCH: Co-operatives First's director of entrepreneurship Heather Hallgrimson discussed the funding opportunities available for communities that are interested in establishing a cooperative daycare space on Friday. Hallgrimson said that there is a lot of support available to establish not-for-profit co-operatives and licensed daycares are more likely to attract potential residents – Mar 24, 2023

Earlier this month, the Saskatchewan government announced reductions for parent fees for regulated child care in the province to $10 a day starting April 1, 2023.

Families will be saving an average of $395 to $573 per month compared to current fees.

Since the announcement, the waiting lists for daycares in the province have been growing and the provincial government plans to create 28,000 new spaces to meet demand by 2026.

This will be funded by $1.1 billion from the federal government over the next five years.

“This is an incredible and transformational time for early learning and childcare in our province,” said Saskatchewan Early Childhood Association Executive Director Georgia Lavallee in a previous release.

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“Not only will this agreement support children and families in Saskatchewan, but it will also support Early Childhood Educators. The agreement will promote economic growth, empower women in the workforce, and nurture better outcomes for children.”

Heather Hallgrimson, director of entrepreneurship with Co-operatives First said they look forward to taking advantage of the recent announcements.

“What’s really great about this is when people are committing to creating new daycare spaces, there are more funds available than ever,” said Hallgrimson. “There’s also a high priority on creating a lot of spaces.”

Hallgrimson said that the new government funding will provide each new day care with approximately $10,000 grants, but they will only be available for not-for profits.

“It’s really a good time to start a daycare cooperative if this was something a community was ever considering as part of their strategy in economic development and strategic planning.”

Co-operatives First helps groups create co-ops by building financial models and assisting with funding applications.

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Hallgrimson noted that six individuals are needed to form a co-op and the organization is already assisting several daycare co-operatives across the province.

“We just keep getting more and more interest,” she said. “There seemed to be a missing piece between daycares that were applying for funding and were ready and queued up to apply, and then just the groups who were interested.”

However, not everyone thinks the new system is going to be successful.

The news does not sit well for Saskatchewan official Opposition Leader Carla Beck and Childcare and Early Learning Critic Meara Conway, who laid into premier’s “botched rollout” of $10-a-day childcare.

“Leave it to Scott Moe to bungle an idea as good as ten-dollar-a-day childcare,” said Beck in a media release. “Moe already has the worst jobs record in Canada, and now moms who work part-time are being told they’re no longer eligible for the childcare spaces they’ve relied on for years.

“It’s typical of Scott Moe’s Sask. Party government to overpromise and underdeliver.”

— with files from Global News’ Jeanelle Mandes and Brody Langager


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