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Information for Operators

We are on a 5-year journey to build a system of child care that is inclusive, affordable, and accessible. We are committed to moving forward together with the people who serve families and children. This includes operators and Early Childhood Educators.

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NS Canada-Wide Agreement

The Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement is a five-year federal-provincial agreement which was signed on July 13, 2021.

The long-term vision is to provide families with access to affordable, high-quality and inclusive child care province wide. Key milestones for 2022 include:

  • April 1, 25 per cent, on average, parent fee reduction
  • Establish the Engagement Table on Early Learning and Child Care
  • Improve ECE wages based on new compensation framework (Fall)
  • Reduce parent fees by a total of 50 per cent, on average (December)
  • 1,500 new early learning and child care spaces

How it works: 50 per cent fee reduction

Funded Centres

Centres that have signed the 2022-23 Quality Investment Grant (QIG) Funding Agreement will receive funding to directly replace fee reductions. The first advance will arrive in bank accounts on April 1, 2022. QIG funding and funding for fee reductions cannot be advanced to operators until funding agreements are signed and received by the Department.

Distributing the Fee Reduction

After April 1, licensed, funded operators must apply fee reductions directly to families’ accounts. If you have questions, please contact the Department as quickly as possible.

Retroactive Fee Reduction Payment (January 1 – March 31, 2022)

Funding will be provided directly to licensed, funded centres before the end of April 2022, who will then work with families to determine if they would like a credit or reimbursement for fees paid between January 1 and March 31. The expectation is that the operators pass on reimbursement to families no later than by the end of May, 2022.

Unfunded Centres

Centres that choose not to sign the 2022-23 Quality Investment Grant (QIG) Funding Agreement will not have access to funding to directly replace fee reductions, the one-time grant, or funding to offer the wage and compensation package for Early Childhood Educators, planned for Fall 2022. Unfunded centres will continue to have access to the following:

  • All licensed child care centres, regardless of funding, can access the Child Care Subsidy Program for families when needed.
  • Current licence will remain unchanged.

Daily Fee Reduction Amounts by Age Category

 Average Fees before ReductionsJan 1, 2022 Average Fee Reduction ($)Dec 31, 2022 Average Fee Reduction ($)Total Average 50% Fee Reductions ($)
Licensed Child Care Centres




Preschool: Full Day


Preschool: Part Day ?


School Age: Full Day


School Age: Before and After?


School Age: After Only


School Age: Before Only


Family Home Child Care




Preschool: Full Day


School Age: Full Day


School Age: Before and After


School Age: After Only


School Age: Before Only


Nova Scotia Before and After Programs
School Age: Before and After


School Age: After Only


School Age: Before Only



Fee Reduction Table (PDF)

Each of these age categories is defined in the Early Learning and Child Care Regulations. Definitions are as follows:

  • “Infant” means a child who is younger than 18 months old.
  • “Toddler” means a child who is between 18 months old and 35 months old, inclusive.
  • “Preschooler” means a child who is 36 months old or older and is not attending school.
  • “School-age child” means a child who is attending school and is not older than 12 on December 31 of the school year.
  • “School-age program” means a child-care program that provides childcare for children attending school or a pre-primary program.

Minor Infrastructure Program

The Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Minor Infrastructure Program provides funding for the creation of not-for-profit child care spaces. 

For program details please visit - Create Child Care Spaces – Funding Programs.

Frequently asked questions


Operators will receive funding in advance for parent fee reductions. Information and funding will be sent directly to operators.

All operators have been offered anew 2023-24 Funding Agreements, effective April 1, 2023. This provides operators:

  • funding to offset parent fee reductions
  • One-time grant funding to assist with operational pressures.

We want all operators to succeed. If you are experiencing financial challenges, please explore the Operational support fund.

Under the Canada-Nova Scotia Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, private operators can continue to operate their existing spaces, up to their total licensed capacity.

Private operators will also continue to have access to annual funding agreements with the department, including funding for parent fee reductions, access to funding for improved compensation and wages for ECEs, and supports for training, coaching, and quality improvements.

Under the Agreement, the department must prioritize space expansion in the not-for-profit sector. Private operators considering moving to a not-for-profit service delivery model should contact to discuss your goals and information needs. The department will work with you to determine the best path forward.

Earlier this year, operators were provided information on what a new central organization could look like. The role and function of the Central Organization will be brought the Engagement Table for discussion.


Current processing times are four to six weeks. To reduce processing time, it is important to submit a complete application.

Operators wishing to check on the status of applications for their staff can contact Classification Services at

Please cc your staff member in the email, so we can confirm they have given consent to share their information.

Through the ECE Workforce Strategy, close to $15M has been invested in continuing education in support of career growth within the sector. In 2022-2023, approximately 350 full-time ECE diploma students received full-time bursaries and over 300 fully funded seats have supported ECEs who are new to the sector and ECEs participating in accelerated ECE diploma programs.

The accelerated program allows those working in the sector to continue working while earning their ECE diploma.

ECE Upskilling Fact Sheet

Selling my business

Buyers of private child care businesses (e.g. sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, limited company) are eligible to apply for a new licence to acquire a currently licensed child care centre if they wish to do so.

A licence may be provided to the new owner with the same total licence capacity as the acquired centre, provided the new owner meets all requirements under the Act and Regulations and supports the same community of families.

For those considering this change, please reach out to, and we will let you know what will be required by EECD to complete this change.

As always, it is strongly advised that transactions of this nature are explored fully with qualified business and legal advisors.

Options as presented in January no longer exist. In place of the options, all operators were offered a 2022-23 funding agreement which includes funding to support the reduction of parent fees by 25 per cent and a one-time grant to offset pressures and transition.

We also heard that there was interest from some operators in the options put forward in January. The voluntary pilot project will support operators that want to transition their business model from private to not-for-profit. Any operator interested should reach out to the department.

Child Care Space Expansion

1,500 new daycare spaces are being created before the end of 2023, at various locations throughout the Province. Here is what you need to know.

At this time, we are supporting overall system growth through our Expression of Interest (EOI) process.

An Expression of Intent was issued October 2021 to not-for-profit providers looking to expand. Project proposals were then evaluated based on several factors including areas of high demand and community need, areas of population growth, organizational capacity and the use of existing infrastructure and partnerships.

A list of approved projects can be found at:

In October 2021, EECD issued a call to the sector seeking expressions of intent to expand existing not-for-profit childcare centres. Many centres responded, and they were evaluated based on criteria such as demand and community need. Those that met the criteria are moving forward. There will be opportunities for other non-for-profit Centres to expand in the future. All proposals received by EECD were responded to.

Expansion costs are fully funded under the Canada Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement.

Despite not having to provide a financial contribution, centres are making significant contributions through their time, expertise and leadership of the initiative.

With the 1,500 new spaces, parents and families will have increased options for licensed care, especially in underserved areas and places where licensed child care has previously been unavailable.

Some examples include Ingonish, Guysborough (Family Home) and Sheet Harbour (Family Home).

The agreement with the federal government prioritizes and funds expansion in not-for-profit centres only.

Before and After School Program

NS-BAP is a before and after school program focused on movement and outdoor play. The program is delivered in schools, enabling children and families to benefit from a seamless day of before and after school wraparound care. It is a joint initiative between the Department of Communities, Culture, Tourism and Heritage and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

Expanding wraparound care is a key objective of the Canada-Nova Scotia Early Learning and Child Care Agreement as there is demand for more before and after care options across the province. We are responding to this growing need through an incremental, multi-year approach centered around the core pillars of Canada Wide; inclusivity, affordability, high-quality and accessibility.

For more information about NS-BAP, visit:?NS Before and After School program -

The current expansion of NS-BAP is based on responses to an expression of intent (EOI) that was issued in the Fall of 2021 to current NS-BAP providers who demonstrated their ability to meet the existing need for before and after school care.

Some existing sites will expand and new NS-BAP sites continue to be added. As new spaces become available, they will be listed at .

There are many excellent, licensed before and after school providers currently operating in schools. We want to build on this great work and increase spaces, not decrease. This much-needed expansion will not displace existing licensed providers that are already operating in schools.

Communities seeking before or after school care for their school should contact their local Regional Centre of Education or the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial and ask to speak with the Before and After School Manager.

Francophone Service Delivery

We recognize the importance of early learning to ensure that the French language and culture thrives in Acadian communities. We are excited about the participation of the Engagement Table in the child care transformation and we ensured membership reflects a broad and diverse representation, including our francophone and Acadian communities.

Looking at how francophone and Acadian communities can support and be involved in the transformation of child care will be a key part of the work of the Engagement Table. The role and function of supporting organization(s) will be brought to the Engagement Table for discussion.

Not-for-profit transition pilot

We’ve developed a new voluntary pilot project where private operators can choose to dissolve and resume under an existing not-for-profit or new not-for-profit board of directors.

The results of the pilot will be used to provide information on what’s involved and the best way to move forward. Transition to a not-for-profit model is not required to access reduced parent fees, improved compensation for ECEs, or future funding agreements.

If you’re interested in learning more about the pilot, please contact us at 

Sector Calls

Funding Agreements and Action Plan Sector Call (22 February 2024)

2023-2024 Funding Agreements Updates (February 22, 2023)

Fee Reduction Information Session (Nov 2022)

Sector Connect with Minister Becky Druhan: Private Operator Sector Call (November 2022)

Not-For-Profit Sector Call (November 2022)