January 17th, 2024

Houston should help parents, create centralized child care waitlist

HALIFAX – Nova Scotia parents continue to face serious barriers to finding child care for their children, including being asked for waitlist fees and now being told many waitlists are closed. The Public Accounts Committee will discuss the Canada - Nova Scotia Canada-Wide Childcare Agreement at its meeting this morning.

“We hear from parents all the time that they are stuck calling a dozen or more child care centres to find care for their child, only to end up on a waitlist and in the end, still not getting access to the care they need,” said NDP Finance spokesperson Lisa Lachance. “If we want to grow our population and have more young people move here, they need to know the government is there to help them find child care when they need it.”

Quebec, New Brunswick, PEI, and many cities in Ontario have centralized waitlists to help simplify the process for both parents and child care providers. Adrienne Buckland is a mother of two in Dartmouth and has had her 10-month-old on waitlists for care for almost a year and a half.

“The demand for child care is much higher than the number of spots available,” said Buckland. “I’ve been on a list for my youngest since before he was born and they won’t have space for him until September. We’re left calling around to any centre we can think of trying to navigate child care options for when I plan to return to work in March. It’s exhausting and stressful and I know so many families in the same situation.”

Families continue to report being asked for waitlist deposits which the NSNDP has called on the Houston government to ban. As required in the Childcare Agreement, Nova Scotia needs to create thousands more spaces in the next two years.