Canada Drop in Nova Scotia child-care fees ahead of schedule under national program
Calls grow for inmate releases as COVID-19 cases climb in Canada's jails and prisons
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Experts and advocates are calling for governments to release some inmates in provincial jails and federal prisons as outbreaks of COVID-19 driven by the infectious Omicron variant spread through the country's correctional facilities. People in tightly-packed living facilities are already more vulnerable to outbreaks, and the methods used in corrections to mitigate those risks — such as bouts of prolonged lockdown or time in segregation — are inhumane, said Martha Paynter, a registered nurse and chair of Wellness Within, a group advocating for health equity in Nova Scotia.
HALIFAX — Child-care fees in Nova Scotia will drop by an average of 25 per cent, retroactive to Jan. 1, which is ahead of schedule under the agreement signed last summer between the province and the federal government.
The early cut in fees will save parents an average of $200 a month for a toddler in care, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Tim Houston said during a virtual news conference on Friday.
In July, Nova Scotia became the second province to sign onto the federal Liberals' early learning and child-care agreement, the goal of which is to gradually lower the cost of child care to $10 a day on average by 2026. It is also supposed to cut fees by an average of 50 per cent in Nova Scotia by the end of 2022.
COVID-19: Ontario reports 46 new deaths, hospitalizations rising; 585 new cases in Ottawa
There were 46 new COVID-19 deaths in the province on Tuesday, Public Health Ontario reported Wednesday morning. This is a significant jump from the 21 deaths reported on Tuesday. Of the new deaths, 15 were LTC residents. The province reported 9,783 new cases Wednesday. However, as of Dec. 31, Ontario restricted access to PCR tests to high-risk individuals who were symptomatic and/or are at risk of severe illness from COVID-19, front-line workers, residents in high-risk settings and other vulnerable populations. As a result, the true number of infections is higher than the daily new cases reported.
Houston told reporters the two governments felt an "urgency" to cut fees more quickly for Nova Scotians.
"We understand the importance of having affordable, accessible child care; it’s impossible to overstate it," Houston said.
"We’re on the right path and we felt the urgency to go quicker, to support families quicker."
Trudeau and Houston said parents and caregivers will pay their current rate until April 1, when they’ll receive a cheque from their child-care providers for the cost reduction from January to March, or receive a credit.
Parents can expect a further drop in fees closer to the end of the year, when the full 50 per cent reduction will go into effect, Houston said.
Video: Phased restart ordered for B.C. schools (The Canadian Press)
Nova Scotia child-care fees to be reduced ahead of schedule
Nova Scotia parents with children in regulated non-profit daycares will see their fees reduced by 25 per cent beginning April 1. Premier Tim Houston and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday that the move to reduce fees is happening ahead of schedule as part of the affordable child-care agreement the province and Ottawa signed last year. With the change, parents will see fees reduced retroactive to Jan. 1 of this year.
The prime minister said his government had been planning to cut child-care costs for years, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of subsidizing the service for Canadians.
“Having kids underfoot when (they’re) trying to work virtually was the thing that put it over the line for many people,” Trudeau said.
Houston echoed that sentiment, adding that access to “quality, affordable child care” will help address child poverty and support parents looking to get back into the workforce.
"At a time when we’re seeing our province and population soar and continue to grow … we're also seeing some labour gaps," Houston said. "So we need all hands on deck working to build up Nova Scotia."
Trudeau and Houston said the agreement would create 1,500 new not-for-profit child-care spaces this fall, for a total of 9,500 new spaces by March 2026.
Drop in Nova Scotia child-care fees ahead of schedule under national program
HALIFAX — Child-care fees in Nova Scotia will drop by an average of 25 per cent, retroactive to Jan. 1, which is ahead of schedule under the agreement signed last summer between the province and the federal government. The early cut in fees will save parents an average of $200 a month for a toddler in care, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Tim Houston said during a virtual news conference on Friday. In July, Nova Scotia became the second province to sign onto the federal Liberals' early learning and child-care agreement, the goal of which is to gradually lower the cost of child care to $10 a day on average by 2026.
CUPE Nova Scotia president Nan McFadgen said Friday in a statement that the announcement was a good first step for children and early childhood educators in the province. CUPE member Naomi Stewart, the union's child-care sector co-ordinator, said there is still work to be done to improve working conditions and wages for employees in the field.
"Early childhood educators need the government to work as hard for them as they have for parents … Our members are overworked and tired, and don’t receive enough compensation for the important work they do," Stewart said in a statement.
The federal government has signed deals with every province except Ontario to bring down the cost of child care for children under six years old, over a five-year period.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2022.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
Danielle Edwards, The Canadian Press
Ontario now alone in not signing federal child-care deal and that's 'outrageous,' Liberal leader says .
Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca says it's "outrageous" that Ontario is the only jurisdiction in Canada not to sign on to the federal government's $10-a-day child-care program, now that Nunavut has struck a deal. Del Duca said if he is elected in the June provincial election, he will make it happen. But he said Ontario Premier Doug Ford should sign a deal as soon as possible because it's urgent.