August 16th, 2023

Houston government misses key child care deadline leaving families struggling

HALIFAX – The Houston government has failed to prepare their Child Care Action Plan for 2023-2026, leaving this year’s $123 million in federal funding on the table. The federal government required an action plan to be submitted in spring 2023 in order to release the funding under the Canada - Nova Scotia Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement. This, as families across the province continue to struggle to secure affordable child care.

“Families across this province are desperate for reliable, accessible, regulated child care. People are leaving the workforce and struggling to pay bills because they cannot find early childhood education for their children. Despite funding and support from the federal agreement, access has gotten worse and worse since the Houston government took office. In this context, it’s deeply concerning that the Houston government has left $123 million dollars on the table,” said NDP Leader Claudia Chender. “They haven’t opened enough spaces to meet demand and operators, early childhood educators, and parents don’t have the support they need.”

A June 2023 FOI filed by the NSNDP revealed that while the Conservatives promised 1,500 new spots by the end of 2022, the Houston government had only opened 28 net new spaces province-wide, as of May 2023. Parents across Nova Scotia have been sharing their stories of waitlist nightmares, child care deserts, and even being unable to return to work due to lack of child care.

Houston has now failed to work collaboratively with the federal government on several files, including on securing the Chignecto Isthmus and on the future of the Atlantic Loop. His government picked a fight over the carbon tax, giving up on a made-in-Nova-Scotia solution and making life less affordable for Nova Scotians.