‘This will have an impact on some people’s capacity to buy groceries, pay rent, and fill up their car with gas.’
Starting January 1, child care fees at authorised Early Years Centres in Prince Edward Island will be decreased to $25 per day.
Child care costs on the islands currently range from $27 to $34 per day. For those families, the reduction to $25 per day would yield a daily savings of $2 to $9.
“As a mother of two children aged three and five, I know how important it is for families and parents, particularly women, to be able to re-enter the workforce,” said P.E.I.’s Minister of Education Natalie Jameson.
“It’s loud and clear, and we’re hearing it. Because the cost of products and services is growing, we want to be there to support our family.”
The fee reductions are part of a bigger plan announced in July by the federal and provincial administrations. Child-care prices in P.E.I. will be reduced to $10 per day by 2024, according to the agreement.
Similar agreements were reached by the federal government with six additional provinces and one territory to decrease child-care expenses to $10 per day. However, P.E.I. has the most aggressive plan in place to achieve that target in the next three years.
Parents are affected greatly.
In the new year, the $25-per-day charge will not apply to all child-care centres on P.E.I. It will take effect on January 1 for licenced Early Years centres, however, licenced non-designated centres will have to seek provincial funds in order to cut rates.
The reduced charge, according to Elizabeth Jeffery, owner and director of Little Wonders Early Learning Centre in Charlottetown, will have a significant impact on parents with small children.
“Oh my god,” Jeffery exclaimed, “it’s going to be tremendous for them.”
“It will be a lot less, especially for individuals who have newborns — that’s a substantial rate adjustment for them,” she says, “and it will have an impact on some people’s ability to buy groceries, pay rent, and put gas in their car.”
Jeffery previously served as president of the P.E.I. Early Childhood Development Association and she said the experience taught her how tough it is to influence government policy.
“I’ve discovered how stinking long everything in government takes since there are so many processes,” she explained.
“Having been on the inside, I know that the fact that they’re able to get this done as rapidly as they are, while it may appear slow to people on the outside, it’s actually pretty impressive.”
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