When Nova Scotia signed the historic agreement with the federal government last year to bring $10 a day childcare to our province, the goal was clear: affordable and accessible childcare for every family in Nova Scotia. As Education Minister, I made it clear though that we can’t meet this goal without private daycares.
These operators currently represent a majority of the daycares in our province. And they agree that affordable childcare is necessary. They agree that their employees should be paid more. What they don’t agree with is the unclear, rushed, and incomplete information the Houston government has given them about how they can possibly succeed under this government’s plan.
Thousands of children across Nova Scotia play, grow, and make friends at a private daycare every day. They are valued by hard-working owners and their ECEs who’ve devoted their livelihood caring for our province’s children. When this government came into power, they had an opportunity to ensure the needs of this sector were met in their implementation of this plan. But the options they’ve been given by this government leave more questions than answers.
The private operators, and the families of the kids who attend their care, deserve to be heard and valued. In the many discussions I’ve had with the sector, their concern is consistent: they want to be included in the conversation and that request is being met with silence from the Minister of Education.
The Minister needs to listen to private daycares, give clear answers to their questions, and make sure a historic agreement does not fall victim to poor planning and worse communication. The Houston government needs to get this right, not rushed.