Advocates criticize N.L. government's child-care update

CBC News, August 28, 2023

Excerpt: "Though Newfoundland and Labrador's education minister has been touting an increased number of child-care spaces operating at $10-a-day or lower across the province, advocates say those numbers don't paint the full picture.

In a child-care update on Wednesday, Minister of Education Krista Lynn Howell said there are currently 8,300 child-care spaces operating at $10-a-day or lower across the province.

Child-care advocate Yolande Pottie-Sherman says while 8,300 might sound like a lot, there haven't been enough net new spots added since the federal government's promise of 6,000 new child-care spaces in 2021.

"Since Jan. 1 of this year approximately 820 child-care spaces have been created and are operating at $10-a-day" said Howell.

However, Pottie-Sherman said that number doesn't account for the spots that were lost this year as well.

"We just need to be real about the numbers," said Pottie-Sherman. "Only 258 more kids in 2023 have access to regulated child-care spaces than did in 2021. So I think we need to remember we are losing spaces at the same time we're gaining them."

In 2021, it was announced the province would receive around $347 million in federal funding to make child care more accessible. At the time, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said almost 6,000 new child-care spaces would be created within five years, as well as a new optional full-day, year-round pre-Kindergarten program.

However, Pottie-Sherman said the province is so far falling short of those goals."

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