One of the many realities not mentioned in the finance minister’s Budget Speech this year is the fact that government continues to ignore the desperate lack of licensed childcare spaces available in the province for working parents, says NDP Education and ECE Critic Lorraine Michael.
Even worse, the budget discontinued one of the few things government had been doing to create spaces. There had been small start-up grants available under the Family Child Care Initiative, but this funding has been abruptly discontinued, leaving people who had hoped to start home-based childcare in the lurch.
“I have heard from individuals who had already invested thousands of dollars and hours of time in getting certified and purchasing required equipment with the expectation that they would eventually qualify for the grant,” Michael said today.
She added that even the Family Child Care Initiative falls far short of the ideal of universal public childcare, but it was at least a small step towards creating more licensed spaces in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“It’s obvious government has no plan to solve the childcare crisis in the province,” she said. “While the minister dilly-dallies around with minuscule budget adjustments, and gets rid of this program that was making a few new spaces, thousands of parents and their employers are feeling the pinch.
“We have said for years that quality, accessible, affordable child care is not a luxury in this day and age. In many cases, the lack of affordable child care keeps highly qualified individuals – usually women – out of the workforce.
“Keeping women working and adding new childcare jobs would be an amazing boost to the economy. Shame on this government for abandoning even this one small thing that it was doing to address the childcare deficit.”