June 24th, 2020

Liberals force child care layoffs, while thousands of families still without care

HALIFAX - Funding shortfalls for child care centres caused by the McNeil Liberals have forced child care centres to start laying off staff in the midst of a summer when thousands of parents are still without care. Layoffs are now confirmed at at least one child care centre in Halifax, with more layoffs expected.

“Premier McNeil told parents that their spots would be held until September, but then failed to provide adequate funding to childcare centres to replace the fees parents would have paid for those spots. It puts child care centres in a bind during these already difficult times,” said NDP Leader Gary Burrill. “We are being told by child care centres that these layoffs are just the beginning. Several centres have said they are considering closing.”

Child care centres are currently allowed to be open at 50 per cent capacity, but many children have not returned because of changes in their families’ incomes or because families have school-age children at home already. Nine people were laid off this week at St Joseph’s Children’s Centre in Halifax.

“The McNeil Liberals just don’t seem to understand the challenge parents are facing. For many families, sending a toddler to child care when they have no child care for a school-age sibling doesn’t make sense,” said Claudia Chender, NDP Education and Early Childhood Development Spokesperson. “At a time when we could be working towards a universal child care program to help our economy recover, the Liberals are instead putting child care centres at risk of closing. Universal child care actually helps to grow the economy. Investing in child care should be a key part of Nova Scotia’s economic recovery strategy.”

The NDP has been gathering stories from parents, child care workers, and caregivers about the challenges Nova Scotians are facing with child care during the pandemic.