March 6th, 2023

Not even half of new child care spaces promised by Houston opened by end of 2022

HALIFAX – Families across Nova Scotia continue to struggle to find child care while the Houston government has failed to deliver promised help, opening fewer than half of the 1500 new child care spots expected by the end of 2022. According to information provided to the NSNDP through a Freedom of Information request, there were only “686 net-new spaces created” between July 21, 2021, and December 31, 2022.

“We hear from people all the time who are stuck without care for their children, impacting their ability to work and provide for their family,” said NDP Education and Early Childhood Development spokesperson Suzy Hansen. “As more families move to the province and parents are looking for work, we need to ensure they also have care for their children outside of the home.”

According to the department’s figures, from late July 2021 to the end of December 2022 “1245 new spaces were opened … and 559 spaces were closed, for a total of 686 net-new spaces created.”

“This government is not keeping its promises, and is not being honest with Nova Scotians. The reality that parents are facing, of centres closing and limited new options available, doesn’t match up with their claims,” said NDP Leader Claudia Chender. “The Liberal government of the past disrupted this sector with the hasty role out of pre-primary and now the Houston government is falling far short of the promised improvements and new spaces.”

In January 2022, the Houston government promised 1500 new spaces by the fall, a figure later changed to 1100 new spaces by the end of 2022. The information provided by the department shows they were 414 spots short of even the revised goal.