The Prince Edward Island government has confirmed it is in talks with the federal government to draft its own deal that would eventually offer $10-a-day daycare, as Nova Scotia has just announced.
"P.E.I. is currently in negotiations with the federal government on P.E.I.'s bilateral [agreement] and we are hopeful to announce the plan in the coming weeks," an education and lifelong learning spokesperson said in an email to CBC News late Tuesday.
"We have to ensure our plan responds to the needs of P.E.I. and builds on where P.E.I. is at," the email went on.
"We are committed to implementing a $10-a-day daycare and have started that work on our own. As of January, daycare rates will drop to $25-a-day per child as outlined in our operating budget this year."
Mary Maci, who has one child in daycare and another on the way, said lower-cost daycare would be life-changing for her family.
"Things are just getting more expensive, especially with the pandemic and housing crisis and groceries. I mean, it would definitely help. Ten dollars a day? I mean, that's unreal."
Daycare director Laura Baker said the move would help to remove barriers to child care for many families.
"It would make it affordable for families, it would make people be able to afford if they have one or two children ... all around it's a very good idea."
N.S., B.C. ink similar agreements
Earlier Tuesday, the Nova Scotia and federal governments announced a $605-million deal that will allow child-care costs in the province to be cut in half by the end of 2022.
The agreement is forecasting that caring for a child during the day will cost an average of $10 a day by 2026.
British Columbia signed a similar bilateral agreement in the first week of July, taking advantage of a $27.2-billion pot of funding over five years, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government promised in the April federal budget.
Both deals, and any future deal with Prince Edward Island, would depend on the re-election of Trudeau's government in a federal election that could be triggered this fall.
On Tuesday, there was quick reaction to the Nova Scotia deal from the federal Conservatives.
Trudeau waited six years into his mandate to make these announcements on child care and it's no surprise that this comes weeks before a possible election. — Corey Tochor
"The Liberals have made child-care promises in eight previous elections since 1993 and they have consistently broken every one," said a statement from MP Corey Tochor, the critic for families, children and social development.
"Trudeau waited six years into his mandate to make these announcements on child care and it's no surprise that this comes weeks before a possible election. For almost three decades, the Liberals have broken their child-care promises. Why should Canadians believe the Liberals now?"
When the B.C. deal was announced, the federal New Democrats also pointed out that a succession of Liberal leaders had been promising affordable child care since 1993 without following through.
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