January 19, 2022

Last July the Nova Scotia government signed an affordable child care agreement with the federal government with the goal of providing $10 a day universal childcare, creating 9,500 new child-care spaces and providing higher salaries for child-care workers by 2026.

All of these efforts would benefit working parents. However, the agreement is providing limited options for privately owned child-care centres, which hold 57 per cent of child-care spaces in the province. These businesses, predominantly owned by women and staffed by women, cannot offer these subsidized fees for parents and higher wages for workers unless they join a new central organization being developed by the Department of Education.

We also are aware that at least two other provinces New Brunswick and Alberta are not taking this approach and are working with privately-owned centres on inclusion in the formula.

During a conference call last week, the provincial department gave private child-care centre owners their options. Many within the industry are calling it a “hostile take over” and are deeply concerned about the impacts on their business and the children who they care for on a daily basis.

Of the three options provided to the businesses, for-profit centre owners can choose to become an approved service provider under the new system, keeping their businesses but losing control over operations such as waitlists and payroll. Or they can transition to a non-profit model and give up their businesses to the new organization. Alternatively, if they chose to remain private they will lose all current funding.

Today, January 19, we  heard from five of these locally owned business as they shared first-hand the choices and potential impacts they are facing.

Our participating panelists are:

Pat Roberts,  Mount Pleasant Nursey School

Andrew Gilroy, Bible Hill / Salmon River Play to Learn

Paul Weatherbee, The Love, Laughter and Learning Centre

Alyse Brayley, Frona Allen – My Pride and Joy Learning Centre Inc

Ellen Butts, Making Friends Preschool

To view this discussion; https://youtu.be/pZwqVZ4MjEQ

Click here, for the Parent’s Letter Template mentioned in the discussion.

Click here to download a template letter to show support from a local business

Click here, for a list of our Provincial MLA’s, and their contact information.

CLICK HERE TO READ A LETTER SENT TO PREMIER HOUSTON Letter to Premier regarding childcare – 012022f

News release issued by Truro Chamber on Jan. 21 re childcare agreement


ACC sent a letter to the NS government expressing concern and requesting more information. A meeting was held on January 18 and the government did not retreat from the original announcement but provided assurances they would work closely with operators. Based on direction from the NS Provincial Advisory Committee (PAC), ACC drafted a further letter that was sent to the Federal government to convey a request that the federal-provincial agreement be amended to ensure funding of for profits as is the case in several other provinces. A copy of the letter will be posted on our policy submissions page shortly.

Letter to NS Government from Atlantic Chamber of Commerce


News release January 21, 2022

For immediate release

January 21, 2022

Chambers ask government to renegotiate terms for privately owned childcare centres


TRURO – Chambers are amplifying the voices of locally owned and operated childcare centres asking government to halt its role out of a new childcare agreement in an effort to renegotiate conditions with private operators.


A joint letter was sent to Premier Tim Houston’s office on Thursday, along with 16 MLAs and Ministers, and Colchester-Cumberland MP Stephen Ellis, on behalf of the members of the Truro and Colchester Chamber of Commerce, the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce, the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce, the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce and the Amherst Chamber of Commerce, collectively serving more 1,500 members that represent a diverse cross section of the local economy.


The Chambers expressed concerns they have heard from privately-owned childcare centres about the impact on their businesses by the proposed $605 million Canada-Wide Early Learning and Childcare agreement which aims to drop childcare fees to an average of $10 per day by 2026 under the deal.


“Many privately-owned childcare centres are viewing what the government is proposing in its three options for businesses to participate in this historic agreement as a ‘hostile takeover’,” said Matthew Mossman, President of the Truro and Colchester Chamber of Commerce. He said in recent weeks Chambers have had conversations with many childcare businesses, licensed privately-owned and not-for-profit, as well as unlicensed providers. The Chambers acknowledge the province has agreed to lift the looming March 18 decision deadline for privately-owned childcare centres and has committed to reassessing options, however, the Chambers stand firm that greater engagement and consideration of business is needed before finalizing the deal.


“All agree that there is an urgent need for better wages for Early Childhood Educators, increased availability of spaces for children in care centres and affordable rates for all families,” said Mossman. “The deep concern stems from the lack of detailed information, timelines and disregard for business government has shown toward these vitally important care providers and the release of a plan with vague details have caused confusion and fear for business owners, staff and parents.”


On January 19, the Truro and Colchester Chamber of Commerce hosted a discussion with five privately-owned childcare centres, now available for viewing on the Chamber’s YouTube Channel, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZwqVZ4MjEQ) where they shared their views on the current rollout of the provincial-federal affordable childcare agreement.


“They clearly articulated the reasons why the government’s proposed three options for private childcare centres are not acceptable and essentially leave them with no reasonable choices,” said the Chamber President.


“We ask that government immediately re-engage with childcare operators across the province in meaningful, constructive, considerate discussions to negotiate a sustainable plan that works for business, government, parents and most importantly, the children of this province.”


Mossman believes this agreement could be an opportunity to support and grow business in Nova Scotia rather than shut businesses, predominantly owned and staffed by women.


“We support efforts to provide affordable childcare to families so they may continue to participate in the workforce and help grow our province’s economy,” said Mossman.

“However, we cannot support the government in forcing hard-working, dedicated business owners to give up their livelihoods, the majority of whom are women.”


He is calling on parents, local business owners and their staff to share their support for locally owned childcare centres. The Chamber has prepared resources and information to assist those wishing to send letters to their MLAs which can be accessed at www.trurocolchesterchamber.com.





Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement Discussion