October 20th, 2023
Nova Scotia New Democrats call for ban on child care deposit fees
HALIFAX– Nova Scotia New Democrats are calling on the Houston government to ban child care waitlist deposit fees to help families struggling to find care. Last summer, many families were shocked to find that even though they had paid a deposit and waitlist fee there would not be space for their children. For some, this meant delaying their return to work or leaving the workforce altogether.
“Child care is an economic issue and it’s a gendered issue,” said NDP Leader Claudia Chender. “When there are not enough spaces for children to get the care they need or there are barriers for accessing that care, many parents, most often women, end up having to stay home instead of returning to work. If the Premier is really focused on economic growth and prosperity, then he has to be focused on making sure there is truly accessible, affordable child care for the families of Nova Scotia.”
While some centres have ended the practice, the NSNDP has heard from parents who are still being asked to pay these fees as recently as last month. Waitlist fees are banned in other parts of the country. Today NSNDP MLA Suzy Hansen will table legislation to ban them in Nova Scotia.
“We’ve heard from people across the province who are struggling with this issue. When centres charge additional fees upfront, it can limit a family’s ability to find the child care they need,” said Hansen. “When centres take deposits and then inform parents with only a couple of weeks' notice that there won’t be a spot, that leads to unnecessary stress and in many cases creates a situation where people have to delay returning to work or quit their jobs. This shouldn’t be the way things work.”
Families across Nova Scotia are struggling under the Houston government’s child care plan. Conservatives promised parents 1,500 new spots by the end of 2022, but the Houston government only opened 28 net new spaces province-wide during the first two years of their mandate.