Nova Scotia families with children in licensed child care will ring in the new year with a reduction in their fees.

In a provincial-federal announcement on Monday, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development Becky Druhan said effective Dec. 31, there will be a 25% reduction to child care costs for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in the province. 

This comes on the heels of a 25% reduction announced earlier this year, meaning fees for most families will be (on average) 50% lower than they were in 2019.

“We know that for many families, child care is the top household expense equal to or more than rent or a mortgage payment,” Druhan said on Monday. “This announcement changes that.”

Druhan said the latest fee reduction means a family with an infant in licensed child care will now pay $23 less per day than they did last year — a savings of $500 per month.

A family with a toddler and a preschooler in licensed child care can expect to pay $36 less per day compared to last year, saving $780 a month. 

Fees will also be reduced to zero for about 3,000 families who use Nova Scotia’s Child Care Subsidy Program.

More child care spaces on the way

Monday’s announcement is the latest step towards achieving $10-a-day child care (on average) by March 31, 2026 through the Nova Scotia Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement. 

“We’re not announcing new funding, but it’s targeted. It’s hitting a new milestone in the Canada-Nova Scotia agreement that’s going to have a significant impact,” Karina Gould, federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, told reporters. 

Druhan also referred to Monday’s announcement as a “significant milestone” on the journey to achieving $10 a day child care. 

“Affordable care opens doors and creates opportunities for parents, particularly for women who often put careers or further education on hold to take care of young children because the cost of child care has put it out of reach,” Druhan said. 

Druhan also said child care operators will receive funds before the end of December to ensure their cash flow isn’t impacted “and they’ll be able to pass that on to parents right away in January.”

Druhan said the province is also adding 1,500 new child care spaces, and 1,100 of those are opening by the end of December. 

In response to an email request from the Halifax Examiner, provincial spokesperson Gary Andrea said there are currently 18,000 total spaces in Nova Scotia.

Andrea said that since January 2022, 14 licensed child care centres have closed in the province, including those that transitioned to not-for profit. He said that number represents 289 child care spaces.  

Click here for more information for families, including a breakdown of reduction fee amounts. 

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Yvette d'Entremont

Yvette d’Entremont is a bilingual (English/French) journalist and editor, covering the COVID-19 pandemic and health issues. Twitter @ydentremont

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