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Nova Scotia is working to make sure that families can easily access quality, affordable, flexible, and inclusive Early Learning and Child Care.

This goal is supported through provincial and federal investments, and will be achieved through initiatives detailed in Nova Scotia’s 2023-26 Action Plan.

Focus areas

We are reducing child care fees and providing sustainable funding for service providers. 

By March of 2026, child care will cost families $10 per day, on average. 

Progress to date

  • We have reduced fees by an average of 50% for licensed child care, which, when combined with the Child Care Subsidy Program for lower income families, means more than 3,000 families now pay $0 a day for care
  • We are making sure those delivering child care have sustainable funding by:
    • Investing more to help child care providers with rising operational costs like food, heating and maintenance 
    • Investing more to help child care providers with the rising costs of caring for infants
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Affordable


What to expect next

  • Parents will pay $10 per day for care, on average, by March 2026 
  • Ongoing, sustainable investments in the people and places that provide licensed child care 

 

By collaborating with our partners, we will strategically create more child care spaces across Nova Scotia. This includes school-aged spaces in Nova Scotia’s Before and After Program, spaces in family homes, and spaces in child care centres. 

By March of 2026, Nova Scotia will have added a total of 9,500* more child care spaces. 
*Total since signing the Canada-Wide ELCC Agreement in July 2021. 

Progress to date

  • Between July 2021 and December 2023, we have created 1,097 more spaces in child care centres, 904 more spaces in family homes, and 1,860 more spaces in Nova Scotia’s Before and After Program (NSBAP), for a total of 3,861 new spaces
  • We are piloting flexible child care hours for families that need extended care hours and weekend care 
  • We have created programs to connect child care providers with the funding they need to complete renovations, with the goal of creating more child care spaces in existing centres and family homes
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Available


What to expect next

  • A total of *9,500 new licensed child care spaces by 2026, through partnership and sustainable provincial investment 
  • A campaign to educate Nova Scotians about licensed Family Home Child Care and encourage caring community members to open their hearts and homes to local children 
  • Additional investment in family home child care to help new providers equip their homes to welcome children 
  • Continued expansion of the Nova Scotia Before and After (School) Program

*Total since signing the Canada-Wide ELCC Agreement in July 2021. 


Where to learn more

We are committed to engaging families, partners and child care providers in the development of an early learning and child care inclusion strategy and plan to address the unique needs of children, families and communities. 

Progress to date

  • We have increased wages for those working hard every day to deliver inclusive child care 
  • We are providing more funding to increase services for families with children who are at risk for, or have been diagnosed with, a developmental delay 
  • We have partnered with the Nova Scotia Community College to launch two new ECE Diploma Programs because we want to ensure child care is delivered by individuals who are reflective of Nova Scotian communities, including: 
    • The Mi’kmaw ECE Diploma Program
    • The Africentric ECE Diploma Program
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Inclusive


What to expect next

  • Changes in the way we fund licensed child care centres so they’re better-equipped to deliver inclusive programs 
  • Sustainable funding to support early intervention for young children at risk for, or diagnosed with, developmental delays 
  • Further expansion of the Pyramid Model in centres across the Province; this model supports the social-emotional development of children 
  • Development of a strategy to ensure services and programs are inclusive for all


Where to learn more

We are focused on ensuring children receive high quality early learning programming delivered by well compensated and qualified professionals. 

Progress to date

  • All ECEs* are now paid on a provincially funded wage scale and will soon have access to defined benefit pension plans and group benefits plans 
  • We have redesigned the Quality Matters Program to ensure there’s continuous quality improvement in licensed child care 
  • We have launched new ECE Training Programs, including: 
    • A Mi’kmaw ECE Diploma Program
    • An Africentric ECE Diploma Program
    • Accelerated Work and Learn Diploma Programs in French and English 
    • A Pathways Program for Newcomers that want to work in child care 
    • An Advanced Practitioner Program for experienced ECEs 
    • A Bursary program (full and part-time) to support students with educational costs
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Quality

*Working in licensed child care centres and agencies 


What to expect next

  • Continued efforts to increase the number of classified ECEs working in the sector to at least 70% by 2025-2026 
  • Pilot launch of the new ‘Quality Matters’ quality improvement program
     

Where to learn more

Milestones

Reduce child care fees in licensed child care by an average of 50 per cent.
Open more than 3,000 new spaces in licensed and provincially funded child care centres and family homes, and in the Nova Scotia Before-and-After School program.
Implement a publicly funded wage scale for early childhood educators working in licensed child care.
Offer pension and group benefits package for employees working in licensed child care.
Further reduce parent fees to $10 a day, on average, per child by 2026.
Open a total of 9,500 new early learning and child care spaces by March 31, 2026.
Enhance before and after care options for 3-5-year-olds using schools and school resources.

Where to learn more

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