Liberal MLA wants more details about government's promise to add 300 child-care spaces

·2 min read
The opposition Liberals want to know where 300 new child-care spaces will be located in the province. (Marina von Stackelberg/CBC - image credit)
The opposition Liberals want to know where 300 new child-care spaces will be located in the province. (Marina von Stackelberg/CBC - image credit)

A Liberal MLA wants government to give more details about how it plans to create an additional 300 child-care spaces promised in the throne speech earlier this year.

Robert Henderson raised the issue during question period Thursday.

According to the government's budget address, it's committed to spending $650,000 to create the 300 spaces across the province, to expand access to more children and help in the launch of a universal pre-kindergarten program set to start in the fall.

Henderson asked Education Minister Natalie Jameson for details about exactly where those spaces would be created.

"Have you approved all 300 new child-care spaces for locations that have been promised to roll out this September?"

Liberal MLA Robert Henderson wants more details about how the province will the create the 300 new spaces promised in the throne speech earlier this year.
Liberal MLA Robert Henderson wants more details about how the province will the create the 300 new spaces promised in the throne speech earlier this year. (Legislative Assembly of P.E.I.)

Henderson said he's heard concerns from some centres that don't have the space to accommodate additional children and he worried that some communities may not benefit.

"Will this result in some centres being able to take advantage of this program but others being left out essentially?" said Henderson.

"I want all my children in my riding to have access to a child-care space in their community.… How will you ensure all Island child-care centres have equal access in obtaining these 300 spaces."

'We want to work with the centres'

Jameson said her department is waiting for the provincial budget to be passed before allocating the 300 additional spaces.

She also said government provided some funds to centres that wanted to expand last year, and more support will be offered through capital grants this year.

"This year we had announced that we were offering capital grants to the sector, so 21 centres reached out to us and they applied for those capital grants for expansion," Jameson said.

"We want to work with the sector, we want to work with the centres."

Education Minister Natalie Jameson says government provided some funds to centres that wanted to expand last year, and more support will be offered this year.
Education Minister Natalie Jameson says government provided some funds to centres that wanted to expand last year, and more support will be offered this year.(Legislative Assembly of P.E.I. )

Henderson also raised concerns about whether centres would have enough staff to accommodate the new spaces.

"The number of spaces available is only as good as the staff you have to service them," Henderson said. "Exactly how many early childhood education positions will be required?"

Jameson said her department has consulted with officials in the sector, who say there is capacity for the new spaces.

She said government has increased investments in early childhood education by 41 per cent this year.

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