HALIFAX, NS – Daycare owners are no clearer about their future today after the NDP’s Community Services Minister failed to put their fears to rest in the House of Assembly. More than half of Nova Scotia’s 408 daycares are privately operated. They provide almost 9,000 child care spaces.
PC Community Services critic Keith Bain outlined the Minister’s confusing and contradictory statements on the matter since she held a joint press conference with CUPE in December 2011, where ending funding for private daycares was discussed.
December 15, 2011: The Minister told reporters “phasing out funding for private daycare will be on the table.”
That same day, she told the house that they were considering the PEI model, which does just that.
December 22, 2011: Minister wrote to all child care facilities saying that there would be no review of child care funding.
February 1, 2012: Minister told reporters that the government is in the early stages of reviewing the child care system, which includes the way it is funded.
February 2, 2012: In a media scrum, the Minister said that the idea for a review started when she became Minister and is still going ahead. The Minister indicated the possibility of a change that didn’t include the private sector.
February 28, 2012: A communications officer with her Department told reporters “There is no review, and there are no plans to review how we fund daycares.”
March 15, 2012: In a meeting with private daycare stakeholders, the Minister informed them that changes would be coming this summer.
The Minister attempted to deny saying these things.
Bain says parents deserve to know what the future holds for child care centres in the province.
“There are areas all over Nova Scotia where the only child care facilities are privately owned,” said Bain. “Right now, there is no reason for parents to have any trust in this Minister.”
Bain called on the Minister to be clear to private daycare owners, starting with Ocean View Children’s Centre in East River and Giant Steps in Upper Tantallon which serve families in her own constituency.
“She’s not up to the job of being responsible for daycares in this province,” charged Bain. It recently came to light that the Minister didn’t inform a daycare in East Preston about an alleged abuser working for them. The daycare found out through media eight months later.