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Child-care workers in N.S. struggle to afford daycare for their own children

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Persistent low wages plague sector that also has a severe shortage of spaces
Aalders, Celina
Publication Date: 
13 Nov 2023


Meghan Croft found herself scrambling just a month before school started this year when the daycare her six-year-old daughter attended before and after school told her they no longer had room.

Croft, a single mother and an early childhood educator (ECE) herself, had no luck finding a new daycare on such short notice.


"Anyone right now with the way the economy is would struggle with having to have an extra $800 to pay a month, let alone a single mother," said Croft. 


While the province is working toward increasing publicly funded child care following a 2021 funding deal with Ottawa, most workers in the system can't afford to use it. The goal of the $605 million in federal funding over five years is $10-per-day child care across the board, but it's unclear when that will be achieved.


"[ECEs] want to be in the field, but it is not a sustainable one to stay in for long periods of time anymore," said Stewart. "Until they [the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development] fund the program properly, they're not going to get people to stay."


Although she enjoyed her work, she said she didn't feel like she was earning enough for it to be worth it, so she started her own dayhome in July.


Government response

Last week, before the provincial legislature ended its fall session, the Nova Scotia Liberals tabled a bill that would provide free daycare for child-care workers.

NDP MLA Suzy Hansen said she agreed with the Liberals that ECEs deserve access to child care, but pointed out a lack of available spaces in the province.


Druhan said the government is taking advantage of the funding from Ottawa to "build up the child-care system that doesn't have wait lists, that has spaces available across the province where all Nova Scotians need them."