More than $1.75 million in emergency funding will be deposited in the bank accounts of child-care centres across the province by Friday, May 21, to ensure centres remain viable while capacity is capped at 60 per cent under COVID-19 restrictions.
The money covers staffing and operational costs. As is the case with all business support during the pandemic, the funding does not compensate for loss of profit.
When the province announced lockdown restrictions in April, this funding was promised to the sector to replace fees paid by parents who chose to keep their children at home temporarily. Financial support will continue as long as necessary at an estimated cost of $850,000 per week.
“We are committed to keeping child-care centres open so parents who need to work during this lockdown can continue to go to work,” said Derek Mombourquette, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. “We have moved quickly to get money we committed to delivering out the door, and to ensure child-care centres and spaces will be there for families when the restrictions are lifted.”
In addition to emergency funding, the province has delivered personal protective equipment to centres at no cost, including non-medical masks, hand sanitizer, face shields and gloves. The department meets regularly with sector representatives and public health to review plans and ensure it continues to support the layered approach to responding to COVID-19.
Last year, the province supported the child-care sector through a complete three-month shutdown with $30 million in emergency funding. That was in addition to regular annual sector funding of $70 million.
Where possible, the province has asked parents to keep their children at home to ensure centres can stay within the capacity limit. Parents who do so will not be charged fees to hold a spot in a child-care centre.
- there are 334 licensed child centres in Nova Scotia and 14 licensed Family Home Child Care Agencies
- the province provides families with $26 million annually in child-care subsidies