Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement – 2021 to 2026

Official title: Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement

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List of abbreviations

CCCI
Child Care Capacity Initiative
CCIP
Child Care Inclusion Program
CCSS
Child Care Services Subsidy
DESDA
Department of Employment and Social Development Act
ECE
Early Childhood Educators
ELCC
Early Learning and Child Care
ELCC-QEP
Quality Enhancement Program
ISM
Integrated Systems Management
OGP
Operating Grant Program

Canada – Newfoundland and Labrador Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement

Between:

  • Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada (hereinafter referred to as "Canada" or "Government of Canada") as represented by the Minister of Employment and Social Development Canada ("Canada") as represented by the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development (herein referred to as "the federal Minister"); and
  • Her Majesty in Right of Newfoundland and Labrador (hereinafter referred to as "Newfoundland and Labrador") as represented by the Minister of Education and Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs (herein referred to as "the Provincial Ministers")

Referred to collectively as the "Parties".

Preamble

Whereas, Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador agreed to a Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework on June 12, 2017 (the "Multilateral Framework"), attached as Annex 1 which articulated their shared vision for early learning and child care and describes their approach to achieve this vision.

Whereas, Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador will work together to build a community-based system of quality, regulated early learning and child care, aiming for all families to have access to high-quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive early learning and child care no matter where they live.

Whereas, building on the 2020 Fall Economic Statement, Budget 2021 commits almost $30 billion over 5 years and provides permanent ongoing funding to work with provincial and territorial, and Indigenous partners to support quality, not-for-profit child care, and ensure early childhood educators are at the heart of the system. Combined with previous investments announced since 2015, approximately $9.2 billion per year ongoing will be invested in child care, including Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care, starting in fiscal year 2025 to 2026.

Whereas, Canada's spending in early learning and child care is intended to increase until it is roughly shared with provinces and territories by fiscal year 2025 to 2026.

Whereas, to further support a lasting federal commitment, Canada is committed to tabling Early Learning and Child Care Legislation in fall 2021, following consultations with stakeholders, provincial, territorial, and Indigenous partners—to enshrine the principles of a Canada-wide early learning and child care (ELCC) system into law.

Whereas, the Department of Employment and Social Development Act (DESDA) authorizes the federal Minister to enter into agreements with the provinces and territories, for the purpose of facilitating the formulation, coordination and implementation of any program or policy falling within DESDA.

Whereas, section 7 of the Intergovernmental Affairs Act requires that an intergovernmental agreement, before it is executed, be submitted to the Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs and be signed by that Minister, as well as the Minister of the Department to which the Agreement relates. Sections 10 and 11 of the Executive Council Act provide the authority for the Minister of Education to enter into an Agreement with the Government of Canada under which Canada undertakes to provide funding toward costs incurred by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador for the provision of early learning and child care.

Whereas, Canada has, pursuant to its Policy on Transfer Payments, established a transfer payment program to provide funds to the provincial and territorial governments for the development and delivery of regulated child care programs and services.

Whereas, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada has called "upon the federal, provincial, territorial, and Indigenous governments to develop culturally appropriate early childhood education programs for Aboriginal families."

Whereas, Canada and the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Métis National Council jointly released the co-developed Indigenous ELCC Framework in September 2018, which establishes overarching principles and sets a vision for happy and safe Indigenous children and families, strong cultural identity, and a comprehensive and coordinated system that is anchored in self-determination and centered on children and grounded in culture, and can be used as a guide for all actors involved in Indigenous ELCC.

Whereas, Newfoundland and Labrador invests in early learning and child care for Indigenous children and Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador agree to work collaboratively with Indigenous governing bodies and organizations to achieve a Canada-wide ELCC system.

Now therefore, Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador agree as follows.

1.0 Vision for Canada-wide early learning and child care

1.1. Canada will be guided by the long-term vision and objectives set out in the Multilateral Framework in making investments in early learning and child care committed in Budget 2021 across jurisdictions. Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador agree that the long-term vision and objectives for Canada-wide ELCC set out in the Multilateral Framework will guide the investment of funds provided under this Agreement. This includes the vision that all families in Canada have access to high-quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive early learning and child care no matter where they live.

1.2. Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador aspire to the following objectives:

  • providing a 50% reduction in average parent fees for regulated ELCC by the end of 2022 and reaching an average of $10 per day by fiscal year 2025 to 2026 for all regulated child care spaces
  • creating more high-quality, affordable regulated child care spaces, primarily through not-for-profit and public child care providers
  • addressing barriers to provide inclusive and flexible child care
  • valuing the early childhood workforce and providing them with training and development opportunities

1.3. Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador agree that progress toward this vision will be undertaken by prioritizing federal investments in support of regulated early learning and child care and for children under age 6.

2.0 Canada-wide early learning and child care objectives and areas of investment

2.1. Objectives

2.1.1. Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador commit to the following provincial objectives:

  • affordability:
    • Newfoundland and Labrador commits to using federal funding to reduce out-of-pocket parent fees for ELCC spaces for children under age 6 by an average of 50% from 2019 levels by the end of 2022
    • Newfoundland and Labrador commits to using federal funding to reduce out-of-pocket parent fees for full-time ELCC spaces for children under age 6 to an average of $10 per day by the end of fiscal year 2025 to 2026
  • accessibility:
    • Newfoundland and Labrador commits to using federal funding to increase the net number of regulated child care spaces for children under age 6 to achieve a coverage rate of 59% by fiscal year 2025 to 2026
    • in creating these 5,895 child care spaces, Newfoundland and Labrador commits that:
      • federal funding will be used exclusively to support not-for-profit, public child care providers/operations, as well as family-based child care
      • federal funding will be exclusively used to support regulated child care delivery by licensed providers
  • quality:
    • Newfoundland and Labrador commits to use federal funds to demonstrate meaningful progress on improving quality, including:
      • developing and implementing evidence based quality frameworks, standards, and tools for early learning and child care
      • developing a wage grid for early childhood educators (ECE) and committing to its implementation
      • increasing the percentage of child care workers providing regulated child care in the province who fully meet Newfoundland and Labrador's legislated certification requirements to at least 60% by fiscal year 2025 to 2026
  • inclusive:
    • Newfoundland and Labrador commits to develop and fund a plan to ensure that new space creation ensures diverse and/or vulnerable children and families, including children with disabilities and children needing enhanced or individual supports, Indigenous children, Black and other racialized children, children of newcomers, and official language minorities, have spaces equivalent to or greater than their share of the population in the province or territory:
      • concrete actions will be included in the action plan
    • in supporting inclusive child care, Newfoundland and Labrador commits:
      • to track the number of inclusive spaces with inclusive programming created/converted as well as the annual public expenditures on child care programming dedicated to diverse and/or vulnerable children and families
  • data sharing and reporting:
    • Newfoundland and Labrador commits to share financial and administrative data (including micro data) needed to monitor progress in establishing the Canada-wide ELCC system

2.1.2. Newfoundland and Labrador's policy and approach to achieving these objectives is set out in its action plan attached as Annex 2.

2.2 Eligible areas of investment

2.2.1. Newfoundland and Labrador agrees to use funds provided by Canada under this Agreement to support the expansion of regulated child care, and prioritize not-for-profit (including publically delivered) early learning and child care programs and services, for children under the age of 6, where:

  1. regulated programs and services are defined as those that meet standards that are established and/or monitored by provincial/territorial governments and Indigenous governments and authorities
  2. not-for-profit providers/operations, which includes publically delivered operations, are defined as those that provide child care services to a community for a purpose other than generating a profit, typically improving family and/or child well being and/or development. Providers may generate a profit, but the surplus earnings, or other resources, are directed towards improving child care services rather than distributed for the personal benefit of owners, members, investors or to enhance asset growth. Early learning and child care programs and services are defined as those supporting direct care and early learning for children in settings including, but not limited to, regulated child care centres, regulated family child care homes, early learning centres, preschools and nursery

2.2.2. In developing and delivering its early learning and child care programs and services, Newfoundland and Labrador agrees to take into account the needs of the official language minority community in its jurisdiction.

2.2.3. Acceptable investments under this agreement may include, but are not limited to: capital and operating funding for regulated early learning and child care, fee subsidies, training, professional development and support for the early childhood workforce, quality assurance, parent information and referrals, and certain administration costs incurred by Newfoundland and Labrador to support the growth and expansion of the child care system, and the implementation and administration of this Agreement.

2.2.4. Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador also agree to promote, define, and deliver innovative approaches to enhance the quality, accessibility, affordability, flexibility, and inclusivity of early learning and child care systems, with consideration for those more in need as defined in section 2.2.5.

2.2.5. Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador agree that funding will be targeted toward regulated programs and services and activities, as described above, for children under age 6, that will have an impact on families, including those more in need such as lower-income families, Indigenous families, lone-parent families, and families in underserved communities, including Black and racialized families; families of children with disabilities and children needing enhanced or individual supports; and families with caregivers who are working non-standard hours. Needs also include having limited or no access to ELCC programs and services in the children's official language.

3.0 Period of agreement

3.1. This Agreement shall come into effect upon the last signature being affixed and will remain in effect until March 31, 2026, or an early termination date where the Agreement is terminated in writing by Canada or Newfoundland and Labrador in accordance with the terms hereof in section 10. Funding provided under this Agreement, in accordance with section 4, will cover the period from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2026, unless terminated at an earlier date pursuant to section 10.

3.2. Canada-wide early learning and child care bilateral agreements

3.2.1. The Parties may extend this Agreement beyond March 31, 2026. An extension agreement would provide Newfoundland and Labrador and Canada the opportunity to review and realign new priorities based on progress made to date.

3.2.2. In the event this Agreement is extended in accordance with the terms of section 3.2.1, Newfoundland and Labrador may continue to use funding provided to cover the same eligible areas of investment as those covered through funding received for the period 2021 to 2026 subject to the terms and conditions of that extended agreement.

4.0 Financial provisions

4.1. These contributions are in addition to ongoing support that Canada currently pays to Newfoundland and Labrador through the Canada Social Transfer and as part of existing bilateral agreements in order to support early childhood development and ELCC within Newfoundland and Labrador.

4.2. Allocation to Newfoundland and Labrador

4.2.1. Subject to Parliamentary approval of appropriations, Canada has designated the following maximum amounts to be transferred in total to all provinces and territories under this initiative with a fixed base rate of $2 million per year for each province and territory and the balance of the funding on a per child (0 to 12) basis for the period starting on April 1, 2021 and ending on March 31, 2026. This funding includes financial commitments made as part of the 2021 to 2026 Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreements.

  1. $2,948,082,433 for the fiscal year beginning on April 1, 2021
  2. $4,489,349,839 for the fiscal year beginning on April 1, 2022
  3. $5,538,345,183 for the fiscal year beginning on April 1, 2023
  4. $6,492,201,954 for the fiscal year beginning on April 1, 2024
  5. $7,718,943,823 for the fiscal year beginning on April 1, 2025

4.2.2. Subject to annual adjustment based on the formula described in section 4.2.3, Newfoundland and Labrador's estimated share of the amounts described in section 4.2.1 will be as follows.

Table 1: Newfoundland and Labrador's estimated projected share of financial provisions by fiscal year
Fiscal year Estimated amount to be paid to Newfoundland and Labrador* (subject to annual adjustment)
2021 to 2022 $35,317,985
2022 to 2023 $52,572,848
2023 to 2024 $63,093,320
2024 to 2025 $71,824,666
2025 to 2026 $83,234,583

*The notional allocations for fiscal year 2021 to 2022 use Statistics Canada's population estimates as at July 1st, 2020. Notional allocations for fiscal year 2022 to 2023 to fiscal year 2025 to 2026 are calculated based on Statistics Canada's longer-term population growth models using the Medium Growth M1 Population Growth Scenario from the previous fiscal year.

4.2.3. The final amount to be paid to Newfoundland and Labrador for the fiscal year will be calculated using the following formula F x K/L plus $2 million, where:

  • F is the annual total funding amount transferred to provinces and territories for the fiscal year minus the base funding for all provinces and territories
  • K is the total population of children aged 0 to 12 in Newfoundland and Labrador on July 1 of that fiscal year, as determined using population estimates from Statistics Canada
  • is the total population of children aged 0 to 12 on July 1 of that fiscal year, as determined using population estimates from Statistics Canada

4.2.4. For the purposes of the formula in section 4.2.3, the population of children aged 0 to 12 for Newfoundland and Labrador for each fiscal year and the total population of children aged 0 to 12 in all provinces and territories for that fiscal year are the respective populations as determined on the basis of the preliminary estimates of the respective populations on July 1 of that fiscal year. These estimates are released by Statistics Canada in September of each fiscal year.

4.3. In this Agreement, "fiscal year" means the period commencing on April 1 of any calendar year and terminating on March 31 of the immediately following calendar year.

4.4. Payment

4.4.1. Subject to parliamentary approval of appropriations, Canada's contribution will be paid in approximately equal semi-annual installments as follows:

  • in fiscal year 2021 to 2022, the first installment will be paid within 60 days after the signatures from both Parties are affixed to the Agreement. The second installment will be paid on or about November 15
  • beginning in fiscal year 2022 to 2023, the first installment will be paid on or about June 15 of each fiscal year. The second installment will be paid on or about November 15 of each fiscal year once conditions in section 5.2 are satisfied

4.4.2. The amount of the first installment will be an amount equal to 50% of the total amount of Canada's maximum contribution to Newfoundland and Labrador for the fiscal year, which will be calculated using Statistics Canada 0 to12 population estimates from the previous year.

4.4.3. The amount of the second installment will be an amount equal to the balance of Canada's contribution to Newfoundland and Labrador for the fiscal year based on the actual amount of the contribution determined under section 4.2.3 and 4.2.4 for the fiscal year.

4.4.4. Canada will notify Newfoundland and Labrador at the beginning of the fiscal year of their notional amount. The actual amount will be based on the Statistics Canada preliminary children (0 to 12) population estimates on July 1 of the preceding fiscal year.

4.4.5. In fiscal year 2021 to 2022, Canada shall withhold payment of its second installment for that fiscal year, and may withhold future installments, until Newfoundland and Labrador provides its annual audited financial statement for all fiscal years covered by: the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Early Learning and Child Care Agreement – 2017 to 2020 in accordance with section 5.2.2(d) of that Agreement; and the Agreement signed in 2021 in accordance with section 5.2.1 (d) of that Agreement.

4.4.6. In fiscal year 2023 to 2024, Canada shall withhold payment of its first installment if Canada has not received from Newfoundland and Labrador its planned action plan for fiscal year 2023 to 2024 to fiscal year 2025 to 2026, in accordance with requirements outlined in section 5.1.

4.4.7. Starting in fiscal year 2022 to 2023, Canada shall withhold payment of its first installment for each fiscal year if Canada has not received from Newfoundland and Labrador all information requested under section 4.4.8 for the payment of its second installment from the previous fiscal year.

4.4.8. Starting in fiscal year 2022 to 2023, Canada may withhold amounts payable in respect of fiscal year if Newfoundland and Labrador is unable to meet the objectives of the Agreement, in accordance with section 2.2.1.

4.4.9. Starting in fiscal year 2022 to 2023, Canada shall withhold payment of its second installment for that fiscal year until Newfoundland and Labrador provides an annual progress report outlining data and results achieved from the previous fiscal year in accordance with section 5.2.2 (a) and its annual audited financial statement of the previous fiscal year in accordance with section 5.2.2(c).

4.4.10. The sum of both semi-annual installments constitutes a final payment and is not subject to any further adjustment once the second installment of that fiscal year has been paid, unless there is a debt due to Canada, which requires repayment in accordance with section 4.7.

4.4.11. Payment of Canada's funding for each fiscal year of this Agreement is subject to an annual appropriation by the Parliament of Canada for this purpose. Likewise, use of the funding by Newfoundland and Labrador is subject to an annual appropriation by Newfoundland and Labrador's Legislature.

4.5. Maximum annual contribution in respect of administration costs

4.5.1. Canada's contribution in respect of Newfoundland and Labrador's administration costs referred to in section 2.2.3 shall not exceed:

  • in the fiscal years covered under this Agreement an amount of up to or equal to 10% of the maximum amount payable for each of those fiscal years

4.6. Carry forward

4.6.1. In fiscal year 2021 to 2022, at the request of Newfoundland and Labrador, and subject to approval of Canada's Treasury Board, Newfoundland and Labrador may retain and carry forward to the following fiscal year any unexpended funds remaining from Newfoundland and Labrador's annual contribution payable under section 4.2, up to a maximum of 75% of the contribution payable. Any unexpended funds in excess of 75% of the contribution payable represents an overpayment subject to section 4.7.

4.6.2. In fiscal year 2022 to 2023, at the request of Newfoundland and Labrador, and subject to approval of Canada's Treasury Board, Newfoundland and Labrador may retain and carry forward to the following fiscal year any unexpended funds remaining from Newfoundland and Labrador's annual contribution payable under section 4.2., up to a maximum of 30% of the contribution payable. Any unexpended funds in excess of 30% of the contribution payable represents an overpayment subject to section 4.7.

4.6.3. Starting in fiscal year 2023 to 2024, at the request of Newfoundland and Labrador, and subject to approval of Canada's Treasury Board, Newfoundland and Labrador may retain and carry forward to the following fiscal year any unexpended funds remaining from Newfoundland and Labrador's annual contribution payable under section 4.2, up to a maximum of 10% of the contribution payable. Any unexpended funds in excess of 10% of the contribution payable represents an overpayment subject to section 4.7.

4.6.4. Newfoundland and Labrador may only use the amount carried forward to the following fiscal year for expenditures on eligible areas of investment made under section 2.2 incurred that fiscal year.

4.6.5. For greater certainty, any amount carried forward under section 4.6.1, 4.6.2, and 4.6.3 is supplementary to the maximum amount payable to Newfoundland and Labrador under section 4.2 of this Agreement during the fiscal year in which the funding is carried forward.

4.6.6. All amounts carried forward to the next fiscal year, pursuant to sections 4.6.1 and 4.6.2 and 4.6.3 must be spent by the end of the fiscal year. Newfoundland and Labrador is not entitled to retain any such carried forward amounts that remain unexpended after the end of that fiscal year, nor is it entitled to retain any balance of Canada's contribution payable pursuant to section 4.2 that remains unexpended at the end of that fiscal year and is not carried forward in accordance with section 4.6.1. Such amounts are considered debts due to Canada and shall be repaid to Canada in accordance with section 4.7.

4.7. Repayment of overpayment

4.7.1. In the event payments made to Newfoundland and Labrador exceed the amount to which Newfoundland and Labrador is entitled under the Agreement and/or unexpended funding is in excess of the carry forward allowance, the amount of the excess is a debt due to Canada and shall be repaid to Canada upon receipt of notice to do so and within the period specified in the notice.

4.7.2. Canada shall, in addition to any other remedies available, have the right to recover the debt by deducting or setting-off the amount of the debt from any future contribution payable to Newfoundland and Labrador under this Agreement.

4.8. Use of funds

4.8.1. Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador agree that funds provided under this Agreement will only be used by Newfoundland and Labrador in accordance with the areas for investment outlined in section 2.2 of this Agreement.

4.8.2. Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador agree that, within each fiscal year of the period of this Agreement, Newfoundland and Labrador may move funding between the individual programming categories outlined in its Action Plan in Annex 2 to ensure the maximum use of funding. Newfoundland and Labrador agrees to notify Canada in writing of any such change in funding allocation, including the rationale for the change. The change will be implemented upon agreement between Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador.

4.8.3. Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador agree that funds provided under this Agreement will be used to ensure improvements in ELCC as outlined in 2.1.1 and will not displace existing provincial or municipal spending in place on or before March 31, 2021.

5.0 Accountability

5.1. Action plan

5.1.1. Newfoundland and Labrador has completed and shared its action plan for fiscal year 2021 to 2022 and fiscal year 2022 to 2023 (Annex 2). Subsequently, Newfoundland and Labrador will provide an action plan for fiscal year 2023 to 2024 to fiscal year 2025 to 2026 by the beginning of fiscal year 2023 to 2024. Newfoundland and Labrador will publicly release their action plan which:

  1. outlines an implementation plan towards achieving objectives set out in section 1, including priority areas for investment, and targets by indicator, within the Framework's parameters
  2. identifies specific targets for each indicator that will be reported on annually for tracking progress in relation to the objectives set out under section 2.1.1, and as outlined in its action plan in Annex 2 which may include:
    1. total number of ELCC spaces available during the fiscal year, broken down by age groups of child and type of setting (for example, for profit/not-for-profit/public regulated child care centres, regulated family child care homes, etc.)
    2. the number of net new spaces created during the fiscal year, broken down by age groups of child and type of setting (for example, for profit/not-for-profit/public regulated child care centres, regulated family child care homes, etc.)
    3. total number of inclusive (as defined in section 2.1.1) spaces created/converted, broken down by age group of child and type of setting
    4. average daily parental out-of-pocket fee for regulated child care spaces at the end of each fiscal year, including at the beginning of fiscal year 2021 to 2022 and at the end of 2022
    5. number of children under age 6 and 6 to 12 years receiving fee subsidies, broken down by families receiving partial and full subsidies
    6. number and proportion of children under age 6 and 6 to 12 years in flexible regulated ELCC arrangements and number and proportion of centers/providers that provide flexible arrangements (for example, non-traditional arrangements such as flexible/irregular hours, weekend and emergency services; and geographic distribution of spaces)
    7. number of children under age 6 and 6 to 12 years with disabilities and children needing enhanced or individual supports that are in regulated ELCC spaces
    8. number or proportion of child care service providers who provide services that are adapted to the needs of children with disabilities and children needing enhanced or individual supports
    9. number of Indigenous children under age 6 years in regulated ELCC spaces, distinction-based (First Nations, Inuit, Metis) where possible
    10. number of racialized Canadian children, including Black Canadian children under age 6 in regulated ELCC spaces
    11. number and percentage of staff working in regulated child care programs in Newfoundland and Labrador who fully meet the Newfoundland and Labrador's certification/educational requirements
    12. annual public expenditure on training and professional development of the early childhood workforce
    13. wages of the early childhood workforce according to the categories of certification, including any wage enhancements, top-ups and/or supplements
  3. identifies additional jurisdiction-specific indicators for tracking progress in relation to the objectives of the Agreement
  4. describes how Newfoundland and Labrador plans to address the ELCC needs of its children/families more in need, as described in section 2.2.5
    1. if available, number and proportion of children under age 6 and 6 to 12 years from families more in need that are in regulated ELCC spaces
  5. outline any additional available information to be reported annually that would be useful to assess progress, including:
    1. information about waiting lists to access regulated ELCC spaces
    2. total child care subsidies provided by parents' income level
    3. average child-to-staff ratio among licensed child care service providers
    4. total annual investment in ELCC
  6. a description of consultation processes referred to in section 5.1.2, the type of groups consulted and annual priorities related to stakeholder feedback

5.1.2. Newfoundland and Labrador will consult with parents, child care providers, experts, Indigenous peoples, official language minority communities and other interested parties as an important step in developing and revising its action plan. Newfoundland and Labrador will outline the results of consultations in its action plan as well as through its annual reporting.

5.1.3. By the beginning of fiscal year 2023 to 2024, Newfoundland and Labrador commits to share with Canada its fiscal year 2023 to 2024 to fiscal year 2025 to 2026 action plan. The action plan shall include the elements described in section 5.1 (i) a) to f). Once the Parties agree that the annual action plan is final, the action plan may be published by 1 or both of the Parties and Canada will be able to provide Newfoundland and Labrador with its first payment for the fiscal year 2023 to 2024 according to section 4.4.

5.2. Reporting

5.2.1. In the first fiscal year, Newfoundland and Labrador agrees to provide baseline data on indicators set out in their action plan as soon as possible after the Parties sign this agreement.

5.2.2. Starting in fiscal year 2022 to 2023, by no later than October 1 of each fiscal year for the period of this Agreement, Newfoundland and Labrador agrees to:

  1. provide to Canada an annual report in the format and manner decided jointly by Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador. The report shall show separately the results attributable to the funding provided by Canada under this Agreement and shall include:
    1. description of the activities, expenditures and results of the Agreement as set out in Annex 2
    2. results achieved in working towards the vision for Canada-wide ELCC set out in this Agreement, including average child care fees and progress toward the average 50% reduction in fees by the end of 2022 and reaching an average fee of $10 per day by fiscal year 2025 to 2026
    3. results achieved according to the indicators and targets referred to in Annex 2
    4. the impact on families more in need, as described in section 2.2.5, including progress toward specific Newfoundland and Labrador targets as described in Annex 2, such as the numbers of inclusive spaces supported by federal funding and by category
    5. additional available information to be reported annually that would be useful to assess progress
    6. description of any relevant consultation processes, the type of groups consulted and annual priorities related to stakeholder feedback referred to in Annex 2
    7. any additional results of an annual child care census as per section 5.2 (f) and any evaluation activities undertaken in the fiscal year, as available
  2. continue to provide to Canada additional data required for the publication of the annual National Progress Report
  3. provide to Canada an audited financial statement of revenues received from Canada under this Agreement during each fiscal year, indicating:
    1. the revenue section of the statement shall show the amount received from Canada under this Agreement during the fiscal year
    2. the total amount of funding used for ELCC programs and services under section 2.2
    3. the administration costs incurred by Newfoundland and Labrador in developing and administering ELCC programs under section 2.2.3
    4. if applicable, the amount of any amount carried forward by Newfoundland and Labrador under section 4.6
    5. if applicable, the amount of any surplus funds that are to be repaid to Canada under section 4.7
    The financial statement shall be prepared in accordance with Canadian Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and the audit shall be performed by the Newfoundland and Labrador Auditor General or his/her delegate, or by an independent public accounting firm registered under the laws of Newfoundland and Labrador and shall be conducted in accordance with Canadian Generally Accepted Auditing Standards.
  4. provide financial and administrative information, as required, to demonstrate progress in meeting the requirements in this Agreement
  5. Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador recognize the importance of reporting to the public on results achieved under this Agreement. Within 365 days of the end of each fiscal year during the period of this Agreement, Newfoundland and Labrador agrees to report to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and Canada on the results and expenditures of ELCC programs and services. The report shall show separately the results attributable to the funding provided by Canada under this Agreement and be consistent with the annual report outlined under section 5.2.2 (a)
  6. to inform reporting on results related to Newfoundland and Labrador action plan, Newfoundland and Labrador agrees to undertake, and share results with Canada from, an annual census of child care providers and other participants in the sector in Newfoundland and Labrador to collect information, including: number of children enrolled, capacity (number of spaces), number of ECEs, ECE wages and qualifications, fee charged to parents, subsidies, number of First Nations, Inuit or Metis child care spaces supported, etc. Costs of undertaking such a census would be eligible expenses under this agreement, to the maximum set out in section 4.5.1

5.2.3. Canada, with prior notice to Newfoundland and Labrador, may incorporate all or any part or parts of the Annual Report described under section 5.2.2 (a) into any public report that Canada may prepare for its own purposes, including any reports to the Parliament of Canada or reports that may be made public.

5.3. Audit

5.3.1. Newfoundland and Labrador will ensure that expenditure information presented in the annual report is, in accordance with Newfoundland and Labrador's standard accounting practices, complete and accurate.

5.4. Evaluation

5.4.1. As per established policies and processes with respect to program effectiveness, Newfoundland and Labrador will evaluate programs and services receiving funds provided under this Agreement and make public the results of any such evaluations.

5.4.2. Newfoundland and Labrador may be asked to participate in the evaluation by Canada of the initiatives under this Agreement and agrees to provide information as requested by Canada during and following the Agreement in order for Canada to evaluate relevant initiatives under this Agreement. Evaluation results will be made available to the public.

6.0 Long-term collaboration

6.1. Understanding that building a new social program is complex, and that both governments are committed to achieving $10 per day child care, Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador will create an officials-level Implementation Committee that will monitor progress towards this goal in consultation with stakeholders. Newfoundland and Labrador will provide data to support the work of the Implementation Committee.

6.2. Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador, through the Implementation Committee and/or Designated Officials, agree to meet at least twice annually, timed to coincide with the planning and reporting cycles, or as agreed to by the Parties to discuss and exchange on issues related to this Agreement, including:

  1. administration and management of the Agreement, including providing a forum for the exchange of information on annual planning priorities and reporting
  2. exchanging information on local challenges and priorities and the results of engagement with relevant stakeholders, including official language minority communities
  3. providing a forum to exchange information on best practices and have discussions related to the implementation of the Agreement, for example, status of data collection, results, the planning of expenditures
  4. improving data collection and dissemination on key ELCC information, including culturally oriented ELCC information for Indigenous children, Black and other racialized children, newcomer children, and other groups of children that may require additional consideration for accessing programs and services
  5. review and provide direction input to collaboratively resolve any issues arising from the implementation and management of this Agreement, and from the evaluation of provincial programs supported under this Agreement
  6. monitor progress towards the shared goal of $10 per day child care, in consultation with stakeholders
  7. in December 2022, report to the Governments of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador on progress towards Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador's shared goals to date and for the remaining term of the Agreement

6.3. Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador agree to share and release data as available, and share knowledge, research and information on effective and innovative practices in ELCC, to further support the development of and reporting on quality and outcomes. Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador agree to work together, and with stakeholders, towards the development of additional measures and indicators that could be included in bilateral agreements in the future that could reinforce the vision for Canada-wide ELCC.

7.0 Communications

7.1. Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador agree on the importance of communicating with citizens about the objectives of this Agreement in an open, transparent, effective and proactive manner through appropriate public information activities.

7.2. Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador recognize the importance of ensuring that the public is informed of Canada's financial contributions to Newfoundland and Labrador's ELCC programs and services funded under this Agreement.

7.3. Each government will receive the appropriate credit and visibility when investments financed through funds granted under this Agreement are announced to the public.

7.4. Canada reserves the right to conduct public communications, announcements, events, outreach and promotional activities about the Multilateral Framework and bilateral agreements. Canada agrees to give Newfoundland and Labrador 10 days advance notice of public communications related to the Multilateral Framework, bilateral agreements, and results of the investments of this Agreement.

7.5. Newfoundland and Labrador reserves the right to conduct public communications, announcements, events, outreach and promotional activities about the Framework and bilateral agreements. Newfoundland and Labrador agrees to give Canada 10 days advance notice and advance copies of public communications related to the Framework, bilateral agreements, and results of the investments of this Agreement.

7.6. Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador agree to participate in a joint announcement upon signing of this Agreement.

7.7. Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador agree to work together to identify opportunities for joint announcements relating to programs funded under this Agreement.

7.8. Newfoundland and Labrador will make best efforts to require service providers, funded under this Agreement to display federal identification to recognize that the programs and services provided receive Canada's financial assistance.

7.9. Newfoundland and Labrador agrees that promotional communications to all groups receiving funding through this Agreement (that is, child care centres, regulated family child care homes, early learning centres, preschools and nursery schools, before-and after-school programming, businesses, associations, unions, training institutions, universities, colleges, and career colleges) will include federal identification and recognize Canada's financial assistance.

7.10. Canada will provide a mutually agreed upon standard letter to Newfoundland and Labrador for use in notifying all recipients of funding from this Agreement, to include federal and Newfoundland and Labrador identification and recognize Canada's financial assistance. Parties may collectively agree on an alternate version that appropriately identifies and recognizes both Parties.

8.0 Dispute resolution

8.1. Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador are committed to working together and avoiding disputes through government-to-government information exchange, advance notice, early consultation, and discussion, clarification, and resolution of issues, as they arise.

8.2. If at any time either Canada or Newfoundland and Labrador is of the opinion that the other Party has failed to comply with any of its obligations or undertakings under this Agreement or is in breach of any term or condition of the Agreement, Canada or Newfoundland and Labrador, as the case may be, may notify the other Party in writing of the failure or breach. Upon such notice, Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador will endeavour to resolve the issue in dispute bilaterally through their Designated Officials.

8.3. If a dispute cannot be resolved by Designated Officials, then the dispute will be referred to the Deputy Ministers most responsible for ELCC, and if it cannot be resolved by them, then the federal Minister and Newfoundland and Labrador Minister shall endeavour to resolve the dispute.

8.4. If either party has failed to comply with its obligations or undertakings and where Newfoundland and Labrador and federal Ministers are unable to resolve related disputes, a termination of the agreement may be pursued in accordance with section 10.

9.0 Amendments to the agreement

9.1. This Agreement, including all attached annexes, except Annex 1, may be amended at any time by mutual consent of the Parties. To be valid, any amendments shall be in writing and signed by the Parties.

9.2. Waiver

Failure by any Party to exercise any of its rights, powers, or remedies under this Agreement or its delay to do so does not constitute a waiver of those rights, powers, or remedies. Any waiver by either Party of any of its rights, powers, or remedies under this Agreement must be in writing; and, such a waiver does not constitute a continuing waiver unless it is so explicitly stated.

10.0 Termination

10.1. Canada may terminate this Agreement at any time if the terms of this Agreement are not respected by Newfoundland and Labrador by giving at least 6 months written notice of Canada's intention to terminate the Agreement. Newfoundland and Labrador may terminate this Agreement at any time if the terms of this Agreement are not respected by Canada by giving at least 6 months written notice of its intention to terminate.

10.2. As of the effective date of termination of this Agreement under section 10.1, Canada shall have no obligation to make any further payments to Newfoundland and Labrador after the date of effective termination.

11.0 Notice

11.1. Any notice, information or document provided under this Agreement will be effectively delivered or sent by letter, postage or other charges prepaid. Any notice that is delivered will have been received in delivery; and, except in periods of postal disruption, any notice mailed will be deemed to have been received 8 calendar days after being mailed.

The address for notice or communication to Canada shall be:

Social Policy Directorate
140 Promenade du Portage
Gatineau QC  K1A 0J9
NC-SSP-ELCC-GD@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca

The address for notice or communication to Newfoundland and Labrador shall be:

Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
P.O. Box 8700
St. John's NL A1B 4J7

12.0 General

12.1. This Agreement, including Annexes 1 and 2 comprise the entire agreement entered into by the Parties with respect to the subject matter hereof.

12.2. This Agreement does not displace federal investments in ELCC, based on the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework, Annex 1, concluded on June 12, 2017.

12.3. This Agreement shall be interpreted according to the laws of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador.

12.4. No member of the House of Commons or of the Senate of Canada or of the Legislature of Newfoundland and Labrador shall be admitted to any share or part of this Agreement, or to any benefit arising therefrom.

12.5. If for any reason a provision of this Agreement that is not a fundamental term is found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be or to have become invalid or unenforceable, in whole or in part, it will be deemed to be severable and will be deleted from this Agreement, but all the other provisions of this Agreement will continue to be valid and enforceable.

12.6 This Agreement is drafted in English at the request of the Parties.

Signed on behalf of Canada by the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development this 28th day of July, 2021.

[Signed by] the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

Signed on behalf of Newfoundland and Labrador by the Minister of Education this 28th day of July, 2021.

[Signed by] the Honourable Tom Osborne, Minister of Education.

Signed on behalf of Newfoundland and Labrador by the Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs this 28th day of July, 2021.

[Signed by] the Honourable Andrew Furey, Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs.

Annex 1: Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework

Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers most responsible for Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) agree on the importance of supporting parents, families and communities in their efforts to ensure the best possible future for their children. For more details, please consult the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework.

Annex 2: Newfoundland and Labrador's action plan for fiscal year 2021 to 2022 and fiscal year 2022 to 2023

In this section

Introduction

Federal vision

The federal Government's vision is that all families in Canada have access to high-quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive early learning and child care no matter where they live.

With an investment of almost $30 billion over the next 5 years and $9.2 billion ongoing, through Budget 2021 and other investments, the Government of Canada will work with provincial, territorial, and Indigenous partners, to implement key components of the Canada-wide system, including:

  • 50% reduction in average parent fees for regulated ELCC by the end of 2022 and reaching an average of $10 per day by fiscal year 2025 to 2026 for all regulated child care spaces
  • creating more high-quality, affordable regulated child care spaces, primarily through not-for-profit and public child care providers
  • addressing barriers to provide inclusive and flexible child care
  • valuing the early childhood workforce and providing them with training and development opportunities
  • the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador will collaborate with the Government of Canada to help achieve this vision to meet the needs of the province's citizens in a manner that recognizes the province's particular context for early learning and child care

Existing early learning and child care system in Newfoundland and Labrador

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has a long history of providing a range of early learning and child care programs and services for young children and their families, while striving to increase access to affordable, high quality child care.

In 2005, the Department of Education expanded its role to bring early learning and child care into the same ministry as kindergarten to 12, by creating a Division of Early Childhood Learning. In 2014, the Division of Family and Child Development, with a mandate for regulated child care and family resource centres, moved from the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services into the renamed Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. In 2016, the Department implemented full-day kindergarten province-wide. In April 2017, the 2 divisions were merged and the Early Learning and Child Development Division was formed. This division has responsibility for regulated child care and family resource centres. In 2020, the Department acquired post secondary education and became the Department of Education.

Child care for children (birth to 13 years) is governed by the Child Care Act and Child Care Regulations (2017). The Child Care Act and associated regulations promote healthy child development during the early years and ensure a safe, nurturing and inclusive early learning environment for the children who participate. The legislation promotes economic stability on both a community and a provincial level. It contributes to gender equity, enables parents of young children to participate in the labour market, assists in poverty reduction and helps to build a skilled future workforce. In addition to these benefits, it provides improved developmental outcomes for children who take part in early learning opportunities, especially for the children who are most vulnerable in our society. All regulated child care services must follow the Child Care Act and regulations and meet the minimum required standards to maintain their licence. Minimum required standards, which will continue in a Canada-wide system, include but are not limited to:

  • educational qualifications of caregivers, such as at least 1 caregiver with a 1-year early childhood education diploma (Level 1 certification) in every homeroom
  • supervision requirements, such as children shall be supervised at all times in a manner that is developmentally appropriate
  • behavioural requirements, such as, behavioural guidance policies that recognize and promote developmental abilities, acknowledge diversity, and prohibit confinement, restraint and deprival of needs must be developed and implemented
  • comprehensive and coordinated program requirements, such as programs must be child centred, developmentally and culturally appropriate, foster development and address individual and group needs
  • health and safety requirements, such as, the facility and the child care service must provide a healthy, safe and developmentally appropriate environment
  • specific caregiver to child ratios and group sizes, such as a 1:3 ratio / maximum group size 6 for infants (birth to 2 years), a 1:5 ratio / maximum group size 10 for toddlers (1 year 6 months to 3 years), a 1:8 ratio / maximum group size 16 for preschoolers (2 years 9 months to 5 years 9 months), and a 1:12 ratio / maximum group size 24 for younger school age children (4 years 9 months to 7 years)
  • physical building requirements including the outdoor play area, such as must be 3.3 squared metres of space per child inside and 7 square metres per child outside to accommodate all licensed spaces
  • on-going inspection and monitoring by departmental inspectors

Newfoundland and Labrador population projections

Graph 1: Number of births in Newfoundland and Labrador between 1949 and 2040

Graph 1

Source: Statistics Canada; Department of finance

Text version of graph 1

The bar graph provides a visual for the number of births in Newfoundland and Labrador between 1949 and 2040. On the horizontal axis are the years and on the vertical axis is the number of births per year.

  • In 1949, Newfoundland and Labrador experienced slightly over 12,000 births with a peak of over 15,000 birth in 1961
  • After 1961, the number of births per year declines until the year 2000, which saw approximately 4,500 births
  • Between the years 2000 and 2019, the province saw slightly over 4,000 births per year
  • The number of births per year is projected to be approximately 1,600 between 2020 and 2040

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the number of births has declined since the baby boom ended in the mid-1960s. Births dropped from over 15,000 in the mid-sixties to about 3,700 in 2020, and are projected to drop to about 3,600 by 2040. This trend is the result of a complex set of economic, social and cultural factors that are not easily changed by policy interventions.

In addition to low birth rates, the aging phenomenon has been exacerbated by high rates of out-migration among young people in the most fertile child-bearing age range. As a result, the province's population has aged much more rapidly than any other province in the country over the last 50 years. The province's median age has gone from 5 years lower than Canada's in 1971 to over 6 years higher than Canada's in 2020. The aging trend will likely continue for years to come.

The median age in the province is expected to increase from 47.4 years of age in 2020 to 49.9 years in 2040. Rapid aging of the population is perhaps one of the most important demographic challenges confronting the province because of its significant implications for government.

The aging trend is expected to be more pronounced in rural areas of the province as youth out-migration from these areas continues. For example, in the province's Great Northern Peninsula the median age is currently 56 years, over 8 years higher than for the province as a whole, and is expected to increase to over 63 years by 2040. Thus, the impacts of aging will vary across regions. Consequently, negative natural population change is expected to continue to constrain population growth and as such, the demographic trends will alter the expectations, demand and needs of the province's population.

Current data collection system

Data collected by the Early Learning and Child Development Division is housed within the Integrated Systems Management (ISM) Matrix. ISM Matrix is a web-based, case-management application that provides automated support for casework and reporting. ISM Matrix currently collects and stores information pertaining to the following program areas:

  • child care services licensing, investigations and monitoring
  • child care capacity initiative
  • operating grant program
  • child care subsidy program
  • child care inclusion program
  • family resource programs

Some of the limitations of the current ISM Matrix include:

  • information on individual children or families
  • average daily parental out-of-pocket fee for regulated child care spaces at the end of each fiscal year
  • number of children aged under age 6 and 6 to 12 years receiving fee subsidies, broken down by families receiving partial and full subsidies
  • number of net new spaces created during the fiscal year, broken down by age groups of child and type of setting
  • reports on staffing information, such as certification and qualifications
  • number of inclusive spaces created/converted, broken down by age group of child and type of setting
  • number of children under age 6 and 6 to 12 years with exceptionalities/varying abilities that are in regulated ELCC spaces

Discussions will be undertaken with the Newfoundland and Labrador Office of the Chief Information Officer to determine whether ISM can be enhanced to collect the data required to fulfil this agreement or whether an additional data management program will be needed.

Existing child care services and programs in Newfoundland and Labrador

Recent provincial ELCC initiatives reflect an understanding of the significance of the early years and a commitment to early learning. To improve quality, access and affordability in early learning and child care, the following child care services and programs currently exist for families in Newfoundland and Labrador:

  1. Operating Grant Program ($25 a day effective January 1, 2021) (OGP) launched in 2014, provides grants to participating regulated child care services to improve the affordability and sustainability of child care services for families with young children. The OGP sets conditions for receiving operational grants which include setting caps for parent fees, serving healthy snacks and lunches, and setting minimum wages for early childhood educators (ECEs) working in the centre. This program lowers the cost of child care for all parents, and is particularly beneficial to those more in need who are eligible for a child care subsidy.Footnote 1 This program reduces child care fees for families by setting daily fee maximums for participating child care programs. Effective January 1, 2021 child care fees were reduced to $25 per day for all age categories from $44 per day (infants); $33 per day (toddlers) and $30 per day (preschoolers). Currently, 90% of child care services and spaces (child care centres and family child care homes) participate in this program

  2. Child Care Services Subsidy (CCSS) program in Newfoundland and Labrador assists eligible families with the cost of regulated child care services by supporting low and moderate income families. The net family income (after income testing) is used to calculate the parental contribution towards the cost of child care. The subsidy is paid to the parent's chosen child care service based on daily subsidy rates set under program policy. Child care services not participating in the OGP may set their daily parent fee above the subsidy approved rate (child care services participating in the OGP are prohibited from charging any fees above the $25 per day rate)

  3. The Child Care Capacity Initiative (CCCI) provides developmental funding for not-for-profit organizations, municipalities, and regulated family home child care providers to increase the number of regulated child care spaces, particularly in underserviced areas, with a focus on rural, linguistic minority and indigenous communities. In 2017, with the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Early Learning and Child Care Bilateral Agreement, the Capacity Program was enhanced to include family child care and to increase and update eligible funding categories to the existing program for not-for-profit organizations. The funding supports applicants to ensure they meet legislative requirements that allow them to become licensed/approved to provide regulated, quality, and affordable child care throughout the province. The CCCI assists with the costs associated with start-up and renovation expenses such as the purchase of quality materials and equipment to meet health and safety requirement (such as, egress windows, fire suppression systems) as well as developmentally appropriate materials and equipment to deliver an inclusive quality program. Once operational these programs receive operational funding through the OGP

  4. Quality Enhancement Program (ELCC-QEP) is intended to enhance quality in regulated child care services through consultation regarding program design, learning processes, interactions with children and their families, and enhancements to physical environments

    Participation in the ELCC-QEP is open to all regulated child care services. This program offers dedicated child care consultants (Quality) who work with, and provide consultation to, all child care services that wish to participate. This includes, but is not limited to, access to tools for self-reflection, program quality, facilitating access to services, mentorship and dialogue with the quality consultant. Other areas for consideration are professional learning opportunities and structural aspects of the learning environment that enhance the quality of learning and care. Evidence-based curricular enhancements and professional learning opportunities strengthen the sector's capacity to enhance the quality of early learning and child care for all children participating in the regulated child care services sector.

    Child care services participating in the OGP are automatically included in the quality enhancement program. A Quality Enhancement Grant is available to all child care services participating in the ELCC-QEP.

  5. Child Care Inclusion Program (CCIP) provides assistance to regulated child care services to ensure all children, including those with exceptionalities (diagnosed or undiagnosed), can participate to their fullest potential in a regular child care program. Through this program, children of all abilities and diversities have equitable access to quality child care programs and are supported in learning through play along with their peers in a regular program. Supports such as consultation, training and grants are available where the need has been assessed by a regional Inclusion consultant of the Department of Education. The support of the CCIP is voluntary and is provided at the request of the child care service

ELCC workforce support

Newfoundland and Labrador values its early childhood educator workforce, which is vital to the growth and development of children under 6. The province provides bursaries, training and development opportunities to ensure quality, and support the attraction and retention of the sector by offering:

  1. Early Childhood Education On-Campus Field Placement Bursary Program: Provides support to ECE students who are required to attend an on-campus field placement. The Department of Education will provide $835 per week, up to $2,500 in total to eligible ECE students who are required to attend the on-campus field placement. During Quarter 4 of fiscal year 2020 to 2021 there were 4 applicants for the On-Campus Bursary Program. This was impacted by covid-19 as placements were not taking place during covid-19 closures

  2. Early Childhood Education Trainee Bursary Program: Provides support to Trainee (Entry) Level caregivers who are taking required ECE courses to upgrade their certification level to Level 1. The Department of Education will provide $250 per successfully completed required post-secondary ECE certificate course to eligible Trainee (Entry) Level child care practitioners who are upgrading to Level 1 certification. During Quarter 4 of fiscal year 2020 to 2021 there were 42 applicants for the Trainee Bursary Program

  3. Early Childhood Education Graduate Bursary Program: The purpose of the ECE Graduate Bursary Program is to improve recruitment and retention of qualified early childhood educators in regulated child care services by reducing student debt. The Department of Education will provide up to $7,500 to eligible applicants. During Quarter 4 of fiscal year 2020 to 2021 there were 6 applicants for the ECE Graduate Bursary Program

  4. Early Learning and Child Care Supplement: The ELCC Supplement Program provides funding to eligible ECEs (child care centre and family child care), administrators (child care centre), and monitors (family child care agency). The intent of the initiative is to attract a greater number of qualified individuals to work in regulated child care settings. During Quarter 4 of fiscal year 2020 to 2021 there were 806 applicants for this supplement

Regulated child care options for Newfoundland and Labrador families

  • Child care centres can operate either on a part-time (4 hours or less per day) or full-time (more than 4 hours per day) basis. Child care centres that do not meet the exemption requirements must be licensed before they can operate. Activities and arrangements that are not considered to be a child care service can be found in section 2(f) of the Child Care Act

  • Family child care is a type of child care service that provides an activity or other arrangement of temporary care or supervision of a child in a child care service provider's home. Family child care can be individually licensed by the Department of Education or approved under the licence of a family child care agency

Newfoundland and Labrador's approach to a Canada-wide system

The 2021 Federal Budget announced an historic investment to establish a Canada-wide early learning and child care system. Newfoundland and Labrador will partner with the federal government to build upon our successes to date and further transform the child care system to provide more affordable, accessible, high quality and inclusive child care.

To ensure affordability and access, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador will reduce fees to an average of $15 per day by January 2022 and achieve the federal goal of an average of $10 per day, or lower for low-income families, as early as 2023. A child care subsidy will continue to be available for families who meet eligibility requirements of the program. Newfoundland and Labrador families will have access to affordable, accessible, high quality care through the creation of an additional 5,895 spaces for children under 6, by fiscal year 2025 to 2026.

To ensure quality, all regulated child care centres and pre-kindergarten programs will be led by trained ECEs with, at minimum, a diploma in Early Childhood Education. Further training and professional development will be required for ECEs to ensure that families with children with enhanced needs have equitable access to child care services.

To support inclusivity, new space creation will ensure diverse and/or vulnerable children and families, including children with exceptionalities and children needing enhanced or individual supports, Indigenous children, Black and other racialized children, children of newcomers, and official language minorities, have spaces equivalent to or greater than their share of the population in the province or territory.

Mechanisms

All targets outlined in the priority areas below are subject to change based on upcoming provincial consultations and review, and may be modified over the course of the 2021 to 2026 Canada-wide ELCC Agreement, 2021 to 2025 ELCC Extension Agreement, and fiscal year 2021 to 2022 Workforce Agreement to better meet the needs of Newfoundland and Labrador families and children. Implementation timelines of these programs may vary.

Priority 1: Improving affordability

Affordability of and accessibility to early learning programs are significant challenges for many families. To support the recommendations of the 2017 Premier's Task Force Report, Newfoundland and Labrador's Budget 2020 committed to implementing $25 a day child care beginning in January 2021. More affordable child care allows more parents into the workplace, helps grow the economy, and helps ensure children receive the early learning, care and positive experiences that will benefit their lifelong learning.

1. Enhancements under the Operating Grant Program (OGP)

Using the already established OGP, which currently provides Newfoundland and Labrador families with access to $25 per day child care, regulated child care service providers (child care centres and family child care homes) who have opted in to the OGP will receive an increase to operational grant funding to support progress towards $10 per day child care. This funding will reduce costs for all families with children under 6 resulting in an average parent fee of $15 per day by January 2022 and $10 per day as early as January 2023.

Approximately 90% of regulated child care spaces currently participate in the OGP (including regulated child care centres and family child care homes). An investment of $38.25 million over 2 years will lower the fees for 5,498 existing regulated child care spaces to $10 per day. Participating child care services will receive an increase in funding through the OGP to fund the lowering of parent fees in accordance with the schedule outlined below.

Families accessing these spaces pay a maximum of $230 per month or $10 per day, per child for regular full-time care. Families with additional financial needs will be able to apply for Newfoundland and Labrador's existing Child Care Services Subsidy for additional support.

Participating child care services are funded quarterly and benefit from enhanced funding for operations.

Targets:

  • by January 2022, parent fees for all spaces that are part of the OGP will be an average of $15 per day
  • as early as January 2023, parent fees for all spaces that are part of the OGP will be an average of $10 per day

2. Child Care Services Subsidy (CCSS)

Using the already established CCSS Program, Newfoundland and Labrador families will be eligible for CCSS based on the family monthly net income and the number of children attending regulated child care services. A family (1 or 2 parent(s) or guardian(s)) are entitled to full child care subsidy if they meet the net income thresholds and number of children in the family who attend a regulated child care service.

When $10 child care is implemented the following scale will eliminate parental contributions and establish full subsidy for eligible families of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Table 2: Scale of child care subsidy for families
Number of children Yearly net income Monthly net income Fees required by parents or guardians
1 $41,000.00 $3,416.67 No cost
2 $47,000.00 $3,916.67 No cost
3 $53,000.00 $4,416.67 No cost
4 $59,000.00 $4,916.67 No cost
5 $65,000.00 $5,416.67 No cost
6 $71,000.00 $5,916.67 No cost
7 $77,000.00 $6,416.67 No cost

Previously, federal investments made under the 2017 to 2020 Action Plan increased the net family income threshold (after income testing) from $32,000 to $35,000, resulting in:

  • families in receipt of a full child care subsidy saw the elimination of surcharges and received free child care when attending a child care service participating in the OGP
  • moderate income families in receipt of a partial child care subsidy saw reduced monthly parental contributions

Target:

  • at such time as $10 per day is reached, all eligible families (up to 130 families based on the chart above) attending a child care service participating in the OGP will be eligible for full CCSS, these families will see the elimination of parental contributions and will have access to full subsidy

Priority 2: Access

The large geographic area and the fiscal realities of Newfoundland and Labrador, combined with the small population, presents challenges in developing child care services that will meet the needs of smaller, rural communitiesFootnote 2. While 37% of children in Newfoundland and Labrador aged birth to 4 years attend regulated programs in a child care centre or a family child care home, there is space for 41.6 % of children at a provincial level, with overcapacity in some areas and shortages in othersFootnote 3. The availability of child care spaces varies greatly across the province, as accessibility challenges exist in some neighborhoods in urban communities, and in some rural and remote communitiesFootnote 4. To meet the needs of Newfoundland and Labrador families, and to ensure universal access of early learning and care, the province will focus on creating more infant, toddler, and preschool spaces, and will also implement a new pre-kindergarten ELCC program.

Newfoundland and Labrador will aim to reach a 59% coverage rate as part of the next action plan for fiscal year 2023 to 2024 to fiscal year 2025 to 2026 to be negotiated with the Government of Canada. This would mean an increase of approximately 5,895 additional spaces.

1. Increase infant, toddler and preschool spaces in regulated child care

Infant, toddler and preschool spaces are limited across the province increasing demand for spaces. As of 2021, there are 5,498 regulated infant, toddler and preschool spaces. By working with municipalities, and not-for-profit organizations under the Child Care Capacity Program through work with the soon to be created Early Learning and Child Care Evaluation and Research Team, communities most in need of infant, toddler and preschool spaces will be identified.

Target:

  • it is anticipated that by the end of 2022, Newfoundland and Labrador will aim to increase infant spaces by 98, toddler spaces by 332, and preschool spaces by 143
  • it is anticipated that by the end of 2023 which includes 2022 targets, Newfoundland and Labrador will aim to increase infant spaces by 196, toddler spaces by 664 and preschool spaces by 285
  • by March 31, 2026, Newfoundland and Labrador will have created:
    • 490 additional full-time equivalent infant
    • 1597 toddler
    • 703 preschool spaces

2. Implement pre-kindergarten

In the spring of 2019, the Department of Education engaged in public consultations to inform development of a guiding document and phased-in implementation plan for a junior kindergarten program for all 4-year-old children in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Pre-kindergarten will be a play-based early learning and child care program under the Child Care Act and regulations and would be available for children during the year prior to kindergarten. Newfoundland and Labrador will start rolling out a full-day, full-year, inclusive, and accessible pre-kindergarten program in the province in September 2022, with a goal of every 4 year old in the province having access to pre-kindergarten by September 2025, no matter where they live.

The pre-kindergarten programs will be governed by the Child Care Act, led by early childhood educators and housed in public schools, where space is available. These programs will follow the early learning framework, Navigating the Early Years. There is a school with primary grades within reach of every 4-year-old child in Newfoundland and Labrador, and many schools have capacity and low and/or declining enrollment, which would allow the space to accommodate pre-kindergarten programs. Delivering pre-kindergarten in schools would be especially important in communities where there are currently few early learning programs.

Pre-kindergarten programming will be full time and available year round (including during school breaks and the summer).

Consultations with stakeholders will occur to ensure that the program is designed in a manner that reflects the diverse needs of all children in the province. Consultations will be focused on ensuring that vulnerable children and children from diverse populations, including but not limited to children living in low income; Indigenous children; Black and other racialized children; children of newcomers to Canada, and official language minorities, have equitable access to regulated child care spaces, in proportion to their presence in the population.

The pre-kindergarten program will be regulated and operate as not-for-profit service and will be able to access all early learning and child care initiatives run by the province, including but not limited to, the Child Care Capacity Initiative, the Quality Enhancement Program, and the Child Care Inclusion Program.

Target:

  • by March 31, 2023, Newfoundland and Labrador will create:
    • 500 full-time equivalent pre-kindergarten spaces for 4 year olds (to be delivered in public schools where there is space and capacity), with a particular focus to address the needs of families more in need, including rural and remote
  • by March 31, 2026, Newfoundland and Labrador will create:
    • 3,105 additional full-time equivalent pre-kindergarten spaces for 4 year olds for children across Newfoundland and Labrador

Priority 3: Quality

Quality improvement in regulated child care is vitally important for the growth and development of children under 6. Access to quality and affordable child care is a pressing issue for many families in Newfoundland and Labrador. Quality early learning and child care sets the stage for life-long learning, provides children with a solid foundation for acquiring skills, and supports more holistic mental, emotional and physical growth. Further, parents who can access affordable and quality child care services are better able to avail of employment, training and educational opportunities.

As Newfoundland and Labrador expands opportunities for children to access programs, it is important to ensure that the quality of these programs are also expanded, in order to ensure high quality and enriching experiences for early learning.

As part of the Canada-wide system, Newfoundland and Labrador commits to:

  1. develop an ELCC Advisory Committee
  2. implement evidence-based quality frameworks, standards, and tools for early learning and child care
  3. certification growth by increasing the percentage of early childhood educators providing regulated child care in the province who fully meet Newfoundland and Labrador's legislated certification requirements
    • increases will be to at least 60% and by at least 15 percentage points by fiscal year 2025 to 2026, whichever leads to a greater percentage
  4. increase annual spending for training and professional development
    • increases will be at least in proportion to the increase in regulated child care spaces
  5. development of an Accelerated/ Workplace ECE Training Plan
  6. develop a wage grid for ECEs and commit to its implementation as part of the OGP requirements
  7. expansion of the Quality Enhancement Program

To further support data collection, reporting and administration of a Canada-wide child care system, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador will create an Early Learning and Child Care Evaluation and Research Team. Further information on the ELCC Evaluation and Research Team can be found in the Priority 6: Reporting section.

1. Early Learning and Child Care Advisory Committee

Newfoundland and Labrador is committed to engaging key stakeholders and the public regarding early learning and child care initiatives. The Department meets with the Association of Early Childhood Educators and the Early Childhood Educators Human Resource Council of Newfoundland and Labrador regularly to gather feedback on early learning and child care issues.

Consultations will play a key role in the development of Newfoundland and Labrador's 2023 to 2026 Action Plan. To support the ongoing review of ELCC initiatives, and to assist in identifying sector needs that can be addressed in subsequent action plans, a new ELCC Advisory Committee will be established. Membership will represent a range of practitioners and experts in the area of early learning and child care from across the province, including: academia, leaders and social actors (ensuring representation from Indigenous and ethnically diverse groups), service providers and persons with experience in using early learning and child care services, including parents. Members will provide valuable advice and input to the Minister of Education on a wide range of early learning and child care issues, including implementation of the Canada-wide initiatives.

Target:

  • establishment of a new ELCC Advisory Committee by March 31, 2023. ELCC Advisory Committee would provide advice to the Minister and the Department to ensure a high-quality and inclusive system by 2023

2. Newfoundland and Labrador's Early Childhood Learning Framework

To support high-quality child care, all regulated child care service providers have been offered a variety of professional learning opportunities to familiarize them with Newfoundland and Labrador's Navigating the Early Years: An Early Childhood Learning Framework (PDF format). These opportunities, offered via the Association of Early Childhood Educators Newfoundland and Labrador, include webinars, workshops, train-the-trainer opportunities and most recently professional learning communities to discuss the framework in more detail. A companion document specifically for child care services with exercises to stimulate reflective practice, is in development and will be released this year. The framework was specifically designed to support and promote the roles of early learning practitioners in the learning and development of children and to bring consistency and cohesion to their work. The framework goals for early childhood learning reflect:

  • well-being and belonging
  • communication
  • play and exploration
  • social contribution

As part of the legislative review, it is anticipated that the program design element of the licensing process for all regulated child care services will demonstrate how the program for the service will reflect the goals of the framework. The submitted program provides the basis for expectations of departmental staff in their various roles when visiting and monitoring the services. The framework will also form the basis for the new pre-kindergarten program planned as part of this initiative. There will be a 3-year process for implementation because licences are granted for a 3-year period. Each year, approximately 1/3 of the licence renewals will need to demonstrate the framework in the program submission. By the end of the third year, all child care services should have had to demonstrate the framework as part of the license renewal process.

Target:

  • by March 31, 2023, the program design element of the licensing process for all regulated child care services will demonstrate how the program for the service will reflect the goals of the Navigating the Early Years: An Early Childhood Learning Framework. Further information regarding this requirement within the legislation will be included in the annual report

3. Certification Growth

Newfoundland and Labrador believes that supporting the ECE workforce is critical to ensuring high-quality child care. Certification statistics in Newfoundland and Labrador clearly show that the higher the level of certification, the more likely a person is to renew their certification and to stay in the child care sector. The Child Care Regulations require those without a credential in early childhood education to be working towards at least a post-secondary 1-year certificate within a 5-year period. To support the professionalism of ECEs, its value and impact for families, federal funding will support the following.

ECE Diploma Program: The Department of Education will partner with post-secondary institutions to substantially increase seats available in both the online and daytime program. The specific institution(s) that will provide these programs will be determined after a consultation process.

An Accelerated Diploma Program (see Workplace Training Program below) will be considered upon consultation with post-secondary institutions and the ELCC Advisory Committee. The program will strive to develop professional early childhood educators who are trained to support vulnerable children and children from diverse populations, including but not limited to children living in low income; Indigenous children; Black and other racialized children; children of newcomers to Canada, and official language minorities.

Enhanced bursaries will be available to those who self-identify as being equity-seeking individuals. The enhanced bursaries will provide an additional financial amount to students who complete the program. Equity-seeking groups include but are not limited to the following:

  • Indigenous
  • Black and other racialized groups
  • Francophone
  • two-spirited, lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans, queer, plus (2SLGBTQ+)
  • newcomer
  • persons with exceptionalities and persons needing enhanced or individual supports

Targets:

  • by March 31, 2022, Newfoundland and Labrador's Department of Education will have initiated a consultation process with select post secondary institutions to increase seats for both daytime and online certificate and diploma programs for early childhood educators
  • by March 31, 2023, 150 additional seats will be available for both daytime and online certificate and diploma programs for early childhood educators
  • by March 31, 2023, Newfoundland and Labrador will increase by at least 15% of early childhood educators providing regulated child care in the province who fully meet Newfoundland and Labrador's legislated post-secondary qualifications required to work in the ELCC sector
  • by March 31, 2026, at least 60% of early childhood educators providing regulated child care in the province who fully meet Newfoundland and Labrador's legislated post-secondary qualifications required to work in the ELCC sector

Workplace Training Program Development and Implementation Plan: the Department of Education will initiate the development of a Workplace Training Program and a plan for implementation. The vision is to develop an accelerated program in which individuals currently working in the child care sector who are required to upgrade would attend classes 2 full days per week and work at a child care service the other 2 days. The practicum would be completed in the workplace. To apply for this program, the individual would have to be currently employed, and have a minimum of 1 year of full-time employment, in a regulated early learning and child care centre (infant, preschool, or school age), licensed or approved family child care home.

The program integrates the knowledge and experience of employed ECEs in providing quality child care in the community. The study practice would be based on:

  • a child-centred focus
  • play-based curriculum
  • focus on inclusion and diversity
  • Indigenous practices
  • child development
  • guidance techniques
  • communication skills
  • family relations
  • professionalism

Target:

  • by March 31, 2022, the Department of Education will have initiated a consultation process with select post secondary institutions, and the ELCC Advisory Committee, to discuss the introduction of an Accelerated Diploma Program for Early Childhood Educators
  • by March 31, 2023, the Workplace Training Program and Implementation Plan will be developed

4. Training and professional development grants and bursaries

Newfoundland and Labrador's Child Care Regulations require those without a credential in early childhood education to be working towards at least a post-secondary 1-year certificate within a 5-year period. To support this goal, the Province offers different types of bursaries for early childhood educators to encourage upskilling, recruitment and retention in the regulated child care sector (that is, trainee bursary, on-campus field placement bursary, graduate bursary program). Enhancements of these bursaries under this Agreement will attract early childhood educators to upgrade more quickly and to continue working in the regulated child care sector in the Province.

As Newfoundland and Labrador focuses on the development of a diverse and inclusive workforce, in collaboration with the ELCC advisory committee, the development of a bursary program to support equity seeking populations will be created by the end of 2022.

Targets:

  • by March 31, 2023, Newfoundland and Labrador commit to supporting the child care workforce through:
    • ECE Graduate Bursary Program: up to 25 eligible graduates of an ECE Diploma program will be provided with $7,500 for the purpose of reducing student debt and offsetting costs of program completion. This bursary requires a 3-year return in service in the regulated early learning and child care sector
    • ECE Trainee Bursary Program: up to 70 eligible ECEs with $250 per successfully completed post-secondary ECE certificate course to Trainee (Entry) Level child care practitioners who are upgrading to Level 1 certification
    • ECE On-Campus Field Placement Bursary Program: up to 10 eligible ECEs will receive $835 per week, up to $2500 in total who are required to attend an on-campus field placement
    • professional development training: up to 1,800 ECEs (including 1,500 new ECEs) to obtain professional development training on culturally responsive practice, equity, inclusion in early learning and child care, and outdoor play
    • development of a bursary to support equity seeking populations: by the end of 2022, the Department of Education will have initiated a consultation process with ELCC Advisory Committee, to discuss the introduction of an additional bursary that supports early childhood educators that self-identify as equity seeking individuals
    • survey: to support the inclusion of equity-seeking groups, a survey of awareness of bursaries to be issued to regulated child care services, programs, and colleges will be developed by 2023

5. ECE wage grid

Newfoundland and Labrador currently requires a minimum wage within the OGP for ECEs and administrators of child care centres. This Agreement includes development and implementation of a wage grid that reflects the education, training, and years of work experience for ECEs at each level. The wage grid should also reflect the important role that ECEs play in the development of young children within the province. In order to create a wage grid that is reflective of the compensation level that is deserving of an ECE at each level of certification, Newfoundland and Labrador will contract a consultant to conduct an early childhood educator labour force adjustment analysis specific to the compensation of ECEs in licensed child care centres. The consultant will develop compensation standards for entry and ongoing wages and benefits for professional responsibilities, including a minimum wage grid and pay scales for all levels (determined through the scope of practice, education requirements, standards and competencies), using living wage and self-sufficiency standards as a minimum. Consideration will be given to strategies and incentives tied to advanced practitioner programs, professional development, and mentoring.

Targets:

  • by April 1, 2022, Newfoundland and Labrador will have contracted a consultant to develop compensation standards for the province
  • by March 31, 2023, the consultant will have designed a new minimum wage grid for all ECEs working in regulated child care settings. Newfoundland and Labrador will have approved the wage grid and have determined a plan for implementation of the wage grid through the OGP
  • by April 1, 2023, Newfoundland and Labrador will ensure that all ECEs working in regulated child care services participating in the Operating Grant in Newfoundland and Labrador are receiving at least the compensation identified in the new wage grid

6. Expansion of the Quality Enhancement Program

The Quality Enhancement Program (ELCC-QEP) offers dedicated regional child care quality consultants who work with and provide consultation to all child care services who wish to participate in order to increase quality in their facilities. Additionally, distributed through the ELCC-QEP, providers have access to the Quality Enhancement Grant, which provides additional resources to enhance quality.

Target:

  • increase by 15% the number of regulated child care services applying for this grant. By 2023, approximately 15 centres and 525 spaces and 5 family child care homes and 25 spaces would have access to quality consultants
ELCC Income Supplement

Currently, Newfoundland provides an Early Learning and Child Care (Income) Supplement directly to eligible, qualified ECEs (child care centre and family child care), administrators (child care centre), and monitors (family child care agency). The intent of the initiative is recruitment and retention of qualified individuals to work in regulated child care settings. During Quarter 4 of fiscal year 2020 to 2021, there were 806 recipients of the ELCC Supplement being provided to ECEs certified Level 1 or above working in regulated child care settings. As of April 1, 2019, supplement amounts are as follows.

Note: This table was changed for accessibility reasons.

Table 3: Early Learning and Child Care (Income) Supplement
Position Level and full annual supplement amounts effective April 1, 2019
Early childhood educator (child care centre) and early childhood educator (family child care) Level 1: $12,900.00
Level 2: $14,400.00
Level 3: $14,900.00
Level 4: $15,400.00
Administrator (child care centre) and monitor (family child care agency Level 2: $15,900.00
Level 3: $16,400.00
Level 4: $16,900.00

Newfoundland and Labrador will continue to provide the Early Learning and Child Care (Income) Supplement to all eligible ECEs until such time as it becomes part of the ECE wage grid.

Priority 4: Inclusivity

Early identification and intervention is one of the best predictors of school success for children with exceptionalities or those with enhanced support needs. To support inclusivity, the 2017 Premier's Task-Force Report recommended the development and implementation of a protocol to ensure a fluid and effective transfer of knowledge and transition of services for children, especially those receiving early intervention services, which is similarly aligned with the Canada-wide vision of ensuring that all children have access to high-quality and inclusive child care.

1. Promotion and continued enhancement of the Child Care Capacity Initiative

A priority of the Canada-wide system is to ensure that all families have access to quality child care, including families more in need such as lower-income families, Indigenous families, lone-parent families, and families in underserved communities, including Black and racialized families; families of children with exceptionalities and children needing enhanced or individual supports; and families with caregivers who are working non-standard hours. The CCCI provides municipalities or not-for-profit providers with access to additional funding to expand regulated child care spaces and services for underserviced communities, with a focus on rural communities, linguistic minority communities, and Indigenous communities.

Targets:

  • by March 2023, Newfoundland and Labrador will aim to create:
    • up to 150 additional spaces for rural communities
    • 30 additional spaces for linguistic minority communities
    • 30 additional spaces for Indigenous communities
    • 30 additional child care services/spaces recognizing the goals of the Inclusion Program. Anticipated space target to be validated through consultations
  • by March 2024, Newfoundland and Labrador will aim to create:
    • 310 additional spaces for rural communities
    • 65 additional spaces for linguistic minority communities
    • 65 additional spaces for Indigenous communities
    • 65 additional child care services/spaces recognizing the goals of the Inclusion Program. Anticipated space target to be validated through consultations
  • by March 2025, Newfoundland and Labrador will aim to create:
    • 770 additional spaces for rural communities
    • 165 additional spaces for linguistic minority communities
    • 165 additional spaces for Indigenous communities
    • 130 additional child care services/spaces recognizing the goals of the Inclusion Program. Anticipated space target to be validated through consultations

2. Expansion of the Child Care Inclusion Program

The CCIP provides assistance to regulated child care services to ensure all children, including children needing enhanced or individual supports (diagnosed or undiagnosed) can participate to their fullest potential in a regular child care service. The current CCIP is a voluntary service available to all regulated child care services. Inclusion supports include:

  • consultative support: guidance and information to assist eligible child care services identify and access resources to plan and ensure all children can participate to their fullest potential in a regular child care service program. Where approved, consultative support can be provided through face-to-face meetings and other methods of communication
    • as part of the expansion of the CCIP via Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care, a one-time needs assessment will be completed for all regulated child care services. This assessment will identify barriers to inclusion within child care services and opportunities for improvement to inclusion, which in turn will create an opportunity for all children with varying needs and abilities to access child care
  • grants: financial resources to assist eligible child care services in ensuring all children can participate to their fullest potential in a regular child care service program. Where approved, the following financial supports are available within the CCIP:
    • replacement staff: financial support to assist with the cost of a child care service replacing a caregiver who is participating in a multi-disciplinary meeting or professional learning opportunity. This may also include some associated travel (pre-approval required)
    • professional learning: financial support to assist with the cost of caregivers accessing professional learning relevant to the needs of the home/homeroom. It may include professional learning fees and some associated travel (pre-approval required)
    • funded space: financial support to assist with cost of a child care service keeping up to 2 vacant spaces empty to enhance the caregiver to child ratio in the impacted home or homeroom
    • staffing grant: financial support to assist with the cost of wages and benefits for an additional caregiver to be added to the team in the impacted home or homeroom to enhance the caregiver to child ratio
    • infrastructure grant: as part of the expansion of the CCIP, financial support to assist in creating accessible child care centres through funding of, for example, accessibility ramps, washrooms, doorways, will be available

Targets:

  • by March 31, 2023, completion of a one-time needs assessment to determine barriers and opportunities for improvement
  • by March 31, 2023, 75 additional staff in regulated child care services will have received training to support children with enhanced needs
  • by March 31, 2023, an infrastructure component will be developed and implemented under the child care inclusion program with federal funding support
  • by March 2024, 15 centres or service will have received infrastructure grant funding to support the creation of more accessible child care services or centres
  • by fiscal year 2025 to 2026, all children with exceptionalities and those requiring enhanced or individual supports who are participating in a regulated child care service will have access to the CCIP

3. Continue collaborative work with Indigenous partners and communities

To support Indigenous Governments and organizations in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Department of Education will continue to work in collaboration with Indigenous partners and communities, as well as other federal and provincial partners, in the development of a plan which will strive to ensure Indigenous children have access to affordable, high-quality and culturally responsive ELCC services that recognize and celebrate the unique traditions and cultures of Indigenous communities, cultures and traditions in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Targets:

  • by March 31, 2023, a survey co-developed and shared in collaboration with Indigenous Governments and organizations to identify the diverse and varied community child care needs
  • by 2024, consultations will be conducted for the co-development of the child care plan to ensure Indigenous children have access to affordable, high-quality and culturally responsive ELCC services
  • by 2025, a co-developed plan recognizing the various needs of diverse Indigenous communities in Newfoundland and Labrador will be completed
Outdoor/Forest Preschool Pilot Program

To support hands-on learning, and the physical health and the self-confidence of children, Newfoundland and Labrador is currently working with Cloudberry Forest School (funded through the Lawson Family Foundation) to determine the potential introduction of legislation, as per our legislative review, that would provide licensing for this type of outdoor based program. This program is completely run outdoors at the O'Brien Farm site, rain or shine, and supports exploration and hands-on learning in a natural environment. Some of these learning experiences include: children's ability to assess risk, teaching concepts of consent via such activities as rough and tumble play, shelter building, role playing, team games, outdoor survival (map and compass) and tool use. Each of these activities are led by an ECE with specialized certification as an outdoor play provider to let the children learn at their own comfort and skill level.

If successful in achieving legislation to allow licences for this type of service, these services would also benefit from our funding programs such as OGP and CCSS.

Priority 5: Prioritization of not-for-profit child care

The regulated child care sector in Newfoundland and Labrador comprises both for-profit and not-for-profit spaces, with most child care centres being privately owned and operated. Approximately 72% of regulated part-time and full-time child care spaces in Newfoundland and Labrador are for-profit. Under the Canada-wide system, Newfoundland and Labrador commits to prioritizing not-for-profit care within the province and encourage the growth of not for profit spaces within the sector. Through the creation and implementation of Newfoundland and Labrador's pre-kindergarten program, the province commits to expanding its not-for-profit spaces for 4-year olds by fiscal year 2025 to 2026. It is anticipated that by year 5, 4,000 pre-kindergarten spaces will have been created. For-profit spaces that already exist will continue to be eligible to receive funding under the OGP. In order to prioritize the development of not-for-profit spaces, Newfoundland and Labrador will implement the following initiatives.

1. Contract consultant to develop a strategic plan for the not-for-profit sector

Newfoundland and Labrador will hire a consultant to conduct an in-depth analysis of the for-profit and not-for-profit/public early learning and child care sectors within the province. The consultant will develop a strategic plan that will guide the province to ensure that not-for-profit spaces are exclusively created as part of the mandate of the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, while ensuring that the child care sector remains stabilized as the demand for spaces increases with the implementation of the Canada-wide child care system. Consultations with the for-profit and not-for-profit sector will be integral to developing a plan to transition the Province towards a predominantly not-for-profit sector to support high-quality early learning and child care. Post-consultations with the sector and relevant stakeholders, the consultant will develop a plan to transition for-profit spaces into not-for-profit spaces that recognizes the child care space needs of the province. The consultant will work in partnership with the Operations team of the Early Learning and Child Care Division (see Priority 6: Implementation Supports and Reporting) to conduct outreach to local not-for-profit organizations and municipalities to develop plans to support the creation of not-for-profit and public child care spaces in communities throughout the province.

Target:

  • by March 31, 2023, a plan to encourage growth in not-for-profit and public early learning and child care spaces will be completed as part of the mandate of the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement

Priority 6: Implementation supports and reporting

The historic transformation of Newfoundland and Labrador's early and learning and child care system will require dedicated capacity to successfully implement the commitments under this agreement. An expanded Early Learning and Child Development Division will be established to bolster capacity on policy and programs, operations and evaluation and research to ensure effective and efficient implementation. Increased capacity will support sound management practices for reporting on funding and progress (including dedicated resources to support external auditing). The proposed responsibilities of the division include the following, but may change based on implementation needs.

1. Policy Development and Regional Operations Team expansion

Policy Development and Regional Operations Team will drive a new, more strategic and integrated approach to work towards a Canadian-wide child care system and ensure better policy coordination. This team will be responsible for:

  • developing the ongoing selection process for the Early Learning and Child Care Advisory Committee. Membership would be representative of parents, practitioners, experts, advocates, academics, Indigenous and ethnically diverse groups
  • launching the Early Learning and Child Care Advisory Committee with a mandate to engage key stakeholders and the public on ELCC initiatives to identify sector needs
  • developing standards of practice, promote information-sharing across jurisdictions, and to begin work on the development of a Canada-wide ELCC system
  • launching an Inclusive and Culturally Responsive Child Care Framework to support children and families with enhanced support needs
  • facilitating changes to the CCSS program and eligible recipients
  • participating in the development of a plan to grow the not-for-profit ELCC sector in Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Regional Programs and Operations will be responsible for sound program management and reduce administrative burden for recipients of early learning and child care funding

2. Early Learning and Child Care Evaluation and Research Team

The Early Learning and Child Care Evaluation and Research team will be a one-stop-shop for early learning and child care data in the province. To support the implementation of the Canada-wide system, the Early Learning and Child Care Evaluation and Research team will bolster internal capacity of the Early Learning and Child Care Division by undertaking quantitative analysis in support of policy development, leading ELCC data, research and evaluation and ensure dedicated access to external auditing services. In fiscal year 2021 to 2022 and fiscal year 2022 to 2023, this team will be responsible for:

  • working with the Office of the Chief Information Officer to determine and create a data system to improve ELCC data capture in the province
  • an evaluation of the current data collection system (ISM) to determine feasibility in collecting the following data:
    • information on individual children or families
    • average daily parental out-of-pocket fee for regulated child care spaces at the end of each fiscal year
    • number of children aged under age 6 and 6 to 12 years receiving fee subsidies, broken down by families receiving partial and full subsidies
    • number of net new spaces created during the fiscal year, broken down by age groups of child and type of setting
    • number of children on waiting lists to access regulated ELCC spaces
    • number and percentage of staff working in regulated child care programs in who fully meet the certification/educational requirements
    • wages of the early childhood workforce according to the categories of certification, including any wage enhancements, top-ups and/or supplement
    • annual public expenditure on training and professional development of the early childhood workforce
    • number of inclusive spaces created/converted, broken down by age group of child and type of setting
    • number and proportion of children under age 6 and 6 to 12 years in flexible regulated ELCC arrangements
    • number of children under age 6 and 6 to 12 years with exceptionalities/varying abilities that are in regulated ELCC spaces
    • number or proportion of child care service providers who provide services that are adapted to the needs of children with exceptionalities or special needs
    • number of Indigenous children under age 6 years in regulated ELCC spaces, where possible broken down by distinction (that is, First Nation, Metis, Inuit)
    • number of racialized Canadian children, including Black Canadian children under age 6 in regulated ELCC spaces
  • an evaluation of existing child care programs via:
    • input from program stakeholders to help develop performance measurements for increased accountability
    • identifying measurements of perceived need to:
      • identify system gaps
      • inform program and policy changes
    • measurements of perceived impacts on identified and future targets
  • applied research to:
    • collect and report national and international data to inform program and policy change
    • review ELCC data and identify provincial gaps for future program development and policy change
  • undertake an annual census/survey of child care service providers and other participants in the sector in Newfoundland and Labrador to collect information. Data that will be gathered through the census/survey will include:
    • number of children enrolled in centres
    • capacity (number of spaces)
    • number of ECEs
    • ECE wages and qualifications
    • fees charged to parents
    • subsidies
    • number of Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit or Metis) child care spaces supported
    • number of inclusive spaces
  • contracting external auditing services to meeting the auditing reporting requirements of the bilateral agreements
  • data sharing with Canada and timely reporting as outlined under section 5.2 of the Agreement

Targets:

  • by March 31, 2022, Newfoundland and Labrador will expand the Early Learning and Child Care Division to include an Evaluation and Research team
  • by March 31, 2022, Newfoundland and Labrador will have a plan in place to supply an information technology data system to capture ELCC data
  • by March 31, 2023, Newfoundland and Labrador will implement the Information technology data system to capture ELCC data
  • by March 31, 2022, Newfoundland and Labrador will have developed an annual census/survey of child care service providers and other participants in the sector
  • by March 31, 2023, Newfoundland and Labrador will have consistent ELCC baseline data, including:
    • number of children enrolled
    • capacity (number of spaces)
    • number of ECEs
    • ECE wages and qualifications
    • fee charged to parents
    • subsidies
    • number of First Nations, Inuit or Metis child care spaces supported
    • number of inclusive spaces

A Canada-wide child care system requires significant expansion of data and reporting to ensure a system that is accessible, affordable, and inclusive for all Canadian families, including families in Newfoundland and Labrador. The table below provides an outline of data that will be captured with federal funds. This data collection will help monitor progress, identify gaps in the system and inform policy development to support Canada-wide child care vision.

The Early Learning and Child Care Evaluation and Research Team commits to monitoring and reporting on the following Canada-wide ELCC Reporting Indicators.

Table 4: Canada-wide ELCC reporting indicators
Principle Outcome Indicator Targets
Affordability Decrease the average daily child care fee Average daily parental out-of-pocket fee for regulated child care spaces at the end of each fiscal year

50% reduction in parent fees by 2022

An average of $10 a day by fiscal year 2025 to 2026 for all regulated child care spaces

Affordability Decrease the average daily child care fee Number of children aged under age 6 and 6 to 12 years receiving fee subsidies, broken down by families receiving partial and full subsidies (see row on Reporting) All children who require fee subsidies
Access Increase number of ELCC spaces available Number of ELCC spaces available during the fiscal year, broken down by age groups of child and type of setting 5,895 new infant, toddler, and preschool spaces by the end of 2026
Access Increase number of ELCC spaces available Number of net new spaces created during the fiscal year, broken down by age groups of child and type of setting 1,645 new infant, toddler, and preschool spaces by the end of 2023
Access Increase number of ELCC spaces available Number of children on waiting lists to access regulated ELCC spaces Not currently collected
Quality Increase quality early learning and child care Number and percentage of staff working in regulated child care programs who fully meet the legislative certification/educational requirements 15% of staff working in regulated child care programs will fully meet legislative certification requirements
Quality Increase quality early learning and child care Wages of the early childhood workforce according to the categories of certification, including any wage enhancements, top-ups and/or supplements To be included in the Operating Grant Program requirements after consultant develops
Quality Increase quality early learning and child care Annual public expenditure on training and professional development of the early childhood workforce As per Budget Estimates
Quality Increase quality early learning and child care Average child-to-staff ratio among licensed child care service providers

1:3 ratio / maximum group size 6 for infants

1:5 ratio / maximum group size 10 for toddlers

1:8 ratio / maximum group size 16 for preschoolers

1:12 ratio / maximum group size 24 for younger school age children
Inclusivity Increase number of inclusive spaces Number of inclusive spaces, broken down by age group of child and type of setting To be determined
Inclusivity Increase number of inclusive spaces Number and proportion of children under age 6 and 6 to 12 years in flexible regulated ELCC arrangements To be determined
Inclusivity Increase number of inclusive spaces Number and proportion of centers/providers that provide flexible arrangements (that is, non-traditional arrangements such as flexible or irregular hours, weekend and emergency services; and geographic distribution of spaces) for harder-to-serve populations of children We have 1 multi-licence commercial centre that offers weekend care at 1 of its sites as needed from all of his centres; very few people use that option
Inclusivity Increase number of inclusive spaces Number of children under age 6 and 6 to 12 years with exceptionalities or varying abilities that are in regulated ELCC spaces This would depend on the number of children with exceptionalities. We can provide number of children being supported by our Inclusion Program
Inclusivity Increase number of inclusive spaces Number or proportion of child care service providers who provide services that are adapted to the needs of children with exceptionalities or special needs By 2025, 130 additional child care services/spaces recognizing the goals of the Inclusion Program
Inclusivity Increase number of inclusive spaces Number of Indigenous children under age 6 years in regulated ELCC spaces, where possible broken down by distinction (that is, First Nation, Metis, Inuit) Not currently collected
Inclusivity Increase number of inclusive spaces Number of racialized Canadian children, including Black Canadian children under age 6 in regulated ELCC spaces Not currently collected
Prioritization of not-for-profit Increase number of not-for-profit spaces Number or proportion of child care providers and spaces that are not-for-profit spaces By 2023, support the growth of not-for-profit child care spaces
Reporting Increase reporting capacity Early Learning and Child Care Evaluation and Research Team By March 31, 2022 the team will be established
Table 5: Subsidies rates, breakdown of age and setting
Maximum daily subsidy rates for licensed child care 2022 2023 Non-OGP
Infants $15 $10 $44
2 year olds $15 $10 $33
3 and 4 year olds $15 $10 $30
School-age (full day) $15 $10 $30
School-age (before and after school care) To be determined To be determined

$14 for after school care

$16 for before and after school care

The subsidy rate is the maximum amount paid by the provincial/ territorial government to the service to cover all or part of the parent fee.

Wage grid

The Newfoundland and Labrador wage grid will be developed by the federally funded consultant as elaborated earlier in action plan.

Summary of Newfoundland and Labrador's Canada-wide ELCC priority investment areas

Newfoundland and Labrador's priority areas of investments under this 2-year action plan are:

  1. improving affordability
    1. provide $15 per day care to Newfoundland and Labrador families by end of 2022
    2. provide $10 per day care to Newfoundland and Labrador families by 2023
    3. provide full subsidy for eligible families of Newfoundland and Labrador to eliminate parental contributions
  2. increasing accessibility
    1. in fiscal year 2021 to 2022 and fiscal year 2022 to 2023, federal funding will create 1,645 spaces for children aged 0 to 5. By fiscal year 2025 to 2026, 5,895 full-time equivalent regulated spaces by will be created to support access
    2. implement pre-kindergarten for all 4-year olds
    3. targeted investment to support access to child care for underserved communities
  3. supporting quality
    1. establish an Early Learning and Child Care Liaison Committee
    2. implementation of Newfoundland and Labrador's Early Childhood Learning Framework to all participating providers
    3. certification growth
    4. training and professional development enhancements
    5. development of ECE wage grid
    6. expansion of the Quality Enhancement Program
  4. improving inclusivity
    1. promotion and continued enhancement of the Child Care Capacity Initiative
    2. expansion of the Child Care Inclusion Program
    3. survey with Indigenous Governments to identify community child care needs
    4. consultations for the co-development of the child care plan to ensure Indigenous children have access to high-quality and culturally responsive ELCC services
    5. a co-developed plan recognizing the various needs of diverse Indigenous communities in Newfoundland and Labrador will be completed
  5. prioritization of not-for-profit child care
    1. contract a consultant to develop a strategic plan for the not-for-profit sector
    2. increase spaces in not-for-profit through pre-kindergarten program space creation and implementation
  6. improving reporting
    1. expand the Early Learning and Child Care Division
    2. establish the Early Learning and Child Care Evaluation and Research Team
    3. create an information technology system
    4. develop consistent baseline ELCC data

Note: This table was changed for accessibility reasons.

Table 6: Targeted Canada-wide ELCC improvements for fiscal year 2021 to 2022 and fiscal year 2022 to 2023
Priority area Initiative Indicator Target Fiscal year 2021 to 2022 Fiscal year 2022 to 2023
Affordability Enhancements under the Operating Grant Program Average fee reduction

$15 per day by January 2022

$10 per day by the end of 2023 for all existing spaces in Newfoundland and Labrador

$17,205,381 from CWELCC funding $25,808,072 from CWELCC funding
Affordability Child Care Services Subsidy Support low-income families Up to 130 families, representing all eligible families $5,161,614 from CWELCC funding $3,441,076 from CWELCC funding
Accessibility Increased infant, toddler and preschool spaces Number of FTE spaces created
  • 98 additional FTE infant spaces created by March 31, 2022
  • 332 additional FTE toddler spaces created by March 31, 2022
  • 143 additional FTE preschool spaces created by March 31, 2022
  • 196 FTE infant spaces created by March 31, 2023 which includes 2022 targets
  • 664 FTE toddler spaces created by March 31, 2023
  • 285 FTE preschool spaces created by March 31, 2023
$4,039,965 from CWELCC funding $9,064,713 from CWELCC funding
Accessibility Pre-kindergarten Number of 4 year olds with access to pre-kindergarten 500 new pre-kindergarten spaces created by March 2023 $0 $4,255,484 from CWELCC funding
Quality Early Learning and Child Care Advisory Committee Establishment of the committee March 31, 2023 $200,000 from CWELCC funding $200,000 from CWELCC funding
Quality Newfoundland and Labrador's Early Childhood Learning Framework Framework will be implemented in the licensing process March 31, 2023 $0 $0
Quality Certification growth
  1. Initiate consultation process with select post-secondary institutes
  2. Number of additional seats available for daytime and online certificate programs
  3. Percent of ECE providing regulated care who fully meet legislative qualifications
  1. March 31, 2022
  2. 150 by March 31, 2023
  3. 15% by March 31, 2023
$5,299,942 (total), including $1,500,000 from CWELCC funding and $3,799,942 from Workforce funding $2,838,634 (total), including $1,367,503 from CWELCC funding and $1,471,131 from Extension funding
Quality Workplace Training Program Development and Implementation Plan Initiate consultation process with select post-secondary institutes and the ELCC Advisory Committee March 31, 2022 $0 $0
Quality Workplace Training Program Development and Implementation Plan Development of the Workplace Training Program and Implementation Plan March 31, 2023 $0 $0
Quality Training and Professional Development
  1. 1. ECE Graduate Bursary

  2. 2. ECE Trainee Bursary

  3. 3. ECE On-Campus Field Placement Bursary

  4. 4. Professional Development Training on culturally responsive practice equity, inclusion and outdoor play

  5. 5. Equity Seeking Population Bursary

  6. 6. Survey to Support Inclusion of Equity Groups

  1. Up to 25 eligible ECE graduates by March 31, 2023
  2. Up to 70 eligible ECEs by March 31, 2023
  3. Up to 10 eligible ECEs by March 31, 2023
  4. Up to 300 ECEs (including 1,500 new ECEs) by March 31, 2023
  5. Consultation with ELCC Advisory Committee by end of March 2022
  6. Developed by 2023
$3,593,325 (total), including $1,950,125 from CWELCC funding and $1,643,200 from Workforce funding $1,500,000 from CWELCC funding
Quality ECE wage grid
  1. Development of compensation standards
  2. Development of a new minimum wage grid
  3. All ECEs working in regulated child care services under the OGP receive compensation identified in the grid
  1. April 1, 2022
  2. March 31, 2023
  3. April 1, 2023
$400,000 from Workforce funding $0
Inclusivity ELCC Capacity Initiative
  1. Number of spaces for rural communities
  2. Number of spaces for linguistic minority communities
  3. Number of spaces for Indigenous communities
  4. Number of services recognizing the goals of the inclusion program
  1. Up to 150 spaces by March 31, 2023
  2. Up to 30 spaces by March 31, 2023
  3. Up to 30 spaces by March 31, 2023
  4. Up to 30 child care services by March 31, 2023
$716,323 (total), including $53,500 from CWELCC funding and $662,823 from Extension funding $3,601,800 (total), including $2,939,000 from CWELCC funding and $662,800 from Extension funding
Inclusivity Child Care Inclusion Program
  1. Inclusion needs assessment
  2. Number of child care service staff to receive training to support children with enhanced needs
  3. Development and implementation of infrastructure funding
  4. Collaborative work with Indigenous partners and communities
  1. March, 2023
  2. Up to 75 additional staff by March 31, 2023
  3. March 31, 2023
  4. Survey development by March 31, 2023
$862,700 from CWELCC funding $500,000 from CWELCC funding
Prioritization of not-for-profit care Contract a consultant Not-for-Profit Growth Plan March 31, 2023 $100,000 from CWELCC funding $0
Reporting
(administrative costs)
Early learning and child care expansion
  1. Development of Early Learning and Child Care Evaluation & Research Team
  2. Develop a plan to supply an information technology data system
  3. Develop an annual census/ survey of child care cervices providers and other sector participants
  1. March 31, 2022
$2,275,000 from CWELCC funding $2,275,000 from CWELCC funding
Reporting
(administration costs)
Develop baseline data through a census (conduct census annually) Provision of consistent ELCC baseline data March 31, 2023 $619,000 from Workforce funding $225,000 from CWELCC funding
Administration costs IT System to improve ELCC data capture Implementation of IT System to capture ELCC data March 31, 2023 $2,000,000 (total), including $1,969,700 from CWELCC funding and $30,300 from Workforce funding $1,000,000 from CWELCC funding
Ongoing Extension Programming Quality Enhancement Program N/A N/A $1,000,000 from Extension funding $1,000,000 from Extension funding
Ongoing Extension Programming Bursaries (extension of the fiscal year 2020 to 2021 Agreement) N/A N/A $176,000 from Extension funding $176,000 from Extension funding
Ongoing Extension Programming Enhancement of Operating Grant Program (does not capture the $15 per day and $10 per day reduction) N/A N/A $3,166,100 from Extension funding $3,412,200 from Extension funding
Ongoing Extension Programming Child Care Subsidy Program (extension from the fiscal year 2020 to 2021) N/A N/A $2,124,000 from Extension funding $2,124,000 from Extension funding
Total CWELCC investments N/A N/A N/A $35,317,985 $52,572,848
Total ELCC Extension investments N/A N/A N/A $7,128,923 $8,846,131
Total Workforce investments N/A N/A N/A $6,492,442 $0
Total federal investments N/A N/A N/A $48,939,350 $61,421,979
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