Canada – Nova Scotia Early Learning and Child Care Agreement – 2020-2021
On this page
- Vision for Early Learning and Child Care
- Early Learning and Child Care objectives and areas of investment
- Period of agreement
- Financial provisions
- Long-term collaboration
- Dispute resolution
- Amendments to the agreement
- Equality of treatment
- Annex 1: Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework
- Annex 2: Nova Scotia’s action plan
Her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada (hereinafter referred to as “Canada” or “Government of Canada”) as represented by the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development (herein referred to as “the federal Minister”)
Her Majesty the Queen in right of Nova Scotia (hereinafter referred to as “Nova Scotia” or “Government of Nova Scotia”) as represented by the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development (herein referred to as “the provincial Minister”)
Referred to collectively as the “Parties”
Whereas, Canada and Nova Scotia agreed to a Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework on June 12, 2017 which articulated their shared vision for early learning and child care and describes their approach to achieve this vision;
Whereas, the Department of Employment and Social Development Act 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 within the mandate of the federal Minister;
Whereas, the Public Service Act authorizes the provincial Minister to enter into agreements with the Government of Canada under which Canada undertakes to provide funding toward costs incurred by the Government of Nova Scotia for the provision of Early Learning and Child Care (“ELCC”) programs and services;
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 early learning and child care programs and services for children under six years of age, with consideration for families more in need;
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. This Framework 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, centred on children and grounded in culture. The Indigenous ELCC Framework can be used as a guide for all actors involved in Indigenous ELCC;
Whereas, Nova Scotia invests in early learning and child care for Indigenous children;
Whereas, in accordance with section 3.0 of the Agreement, Canada and Nova Scotia wish to renew the Agreement for a period of one year commencing April 1st 2020 and ending March 31, 2021, on the same terms and conditions as in the Agreement, save and except for amendments as provided herein;
Whereas, intentions to renew the Agreement were stated in writing and negotiations had commenced prior to the expiry of the Agreement;
Whereas, Canada and Nova Scotia will continue to work together towards a renewed Canada-Nova Scotia Early Learning and Child Care Agreement; and
Whereas Canada and Nova Scotia further agree to amend the Agreement.
Now therefore, Canada and Nova Scotia agree as follows:
1.0 Vision for Early Learning and Child Care
1.1 Canada and Nova Scotia agree that the long term vision, principles and objectives for early learning and child care, which are set out in the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework that is attached as Annex 1, will guide the investment of funds provided under this Agreement.
2.0 Early Learning and Child Care objectives and areas of investment
2.1.1 Canada and Nova Scotia agree that over the period of this Agreement, with financial support from Canada, Nova Scotia will further build its early learning and child care system by addressing local, regional and system priorities that have an impact on families more in need by increasing the quality, accessibility, affordability, flexibility and inclusivity in early learning and child care, towards achieving the objectives of:
- making child care more accessible and affordable for Nova Scotian families
- supporting quality through workforce development; and
- imbedding inclusion in early learning and child care environments
Nova Scotia’s policy towards early learning and child care and approach to achieving these objectives is set out in their Action Plan attached as Annex 2.
2.2 Eligible areas of investment
2.2.1 Nova Scotia agrees to prioritize funds provided by Canada under this Agreement in regulated early learning and child care programs and services for children under the age of six where:
- regulated programs and services are defined as those that meet standards that are established and/or monitored by provincial/territorial governments
- 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 schools
2.2.2 In developing and delivering its early learning and child care programs and services, Nova Scotia agrees to take into account the needs of official language minority communities in Nova Scotia.
2.2.3 Types of investments include: 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, parents information and referral, and administration costs incurred by Nova Scotia in implementing and administering this Agreement.
2.2.4 Canada and Nova Scotia also agree to promote, define, and deliver identifiable 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.
2.2.5 Canada and Nova Scotia agree that funding will be targeted toward programs and activities, as described above, for children under the age of six, that will have an impact on families more in need such as lower-income families, Indigenous families, lone-parent families, families in underserved communities, those working non-standard hours, and/or families with children with varying abilities. Needs also include having limited or no access to early learning and child care programs and services in the children’s official language.
2.2.6 Under the extraordinary circumstances that faced the globe in 2020, Nova Scotia may allocate funding under this agreement from the fiscal year 2020-2021 to support short-term measures to minimize the impacts of COVID-19 on Nova Scotia’s ELCC system. These measures must be aligned with the principles of the Multilateral ELCC Framework and be used to sustain ELCC programs and services.
3.0 Period of agreement
3.1 Effective date of the agreement
3.1.1 The original Agreement was effective upon the last signature being affixed on January 18, 2018 and will remain in effect until March 31, 2020, unless terminated in writing by Canada in accordance with the terms hereof in section 11. Funding provided under this Agreement, in accordance with section 4, will cover the period from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2020.
3.1.2 Amendments to extend this agreement shall come into effect upon expiry of the Agreement on March 31, 2020, and will remain in effect until March 31, 2021, unless terminated in writing by Canada or Nova Scotia in accordance with the terms hereof in section 11. Funding provided under this amended Agreement, in accordance with section 4, will cover the period from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021.
3.2 Renewal of bilateral agreements
3.2.1 Canada commits that the annual allocation for the period 2021-2022 to 2027-2028 will be no less than the annual allocation of this current agreement. Funding for future years will be provided upon the renewal of bilateral agreements conditional on Canada’s acceptance of new action plans and informed by the assessment of the results achieved under the action plan set out in Annex 2.
3.2.2 The renewal will provide Nova Scotia and Canada the opportunity to review and course correct, if required, and realign new priorities in future bilateral agreements based on progress made to date.
3.2.3 In the event this bilateral agreement is renewed in accordance with the terms of section 3.2.1, Nova Scotia may continue to use funding provided thereunder to cover the same eligible areas of investment as those covered through funding received for the period 2020-2021 subject to the terms and conditions of that renewed agreement.
4.0 Financial provisions
4.1 These contributions are in addition and not in lieu of those that Canada currently pays to Nova Scotia through the Canada Social Transfer in order to support early childhood development and early learning and child care within Nova Scotia.
4.2 Allocation to Nova Scotia
4.2.1 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 capita basis for the period starting on April 1, 2017 and ending on March 31, 2021.
- $399,669,692 for the Fiscal Year beginning on April 1, 2017
- $399,347,695 for the Fiscal Year beginning on April 1, 2018
- $399,347,695 for the Fiscal Year beginning on April 1, 2019
- $399,347,694 for the Fiscal Year beginning on April 1, 2020
4.2.2 Subject to annual adjustment based on the formula described in section 4.2.3, Nova Scotia’s estimated share of the amounts described in section 4.2.1 will be:
|Fiscal year||Estimated amount to be paid to Nova Scotiaa (subject to annual adjustment)|
aAmount represents annual estimates based on Statistics Canada population estimates
Canada commits that the annual allocation for the period 2021-2022 to 2027-2028 will be no less than the annual allocation of this current agreement under the conditions set in section 3.2.1.
4.2.3 The final yearly amount to be paid to Nova Scotia will be calculated using the following formula F × K/L, where:
- F is the annual total funding amount transferred to provinces and territories minus the base funding
- K is the total population of Nova Scotia, as determined using annual population estimates from Statistics Canada
- L is the total population of Canada, as determined using annual population estimates from Statistics Canada
4.2.4 For the purposes of the formula in section 4.2.3, the population of Nova Scotia for each Fiscal Year and the total population of all provinces and territories for that Fiscal Year are the respective populations as determined on the basis of the quarterly preliminary estimates of the respective populations on July 1 of that Fiscal Year released in September of that Fiscal Year by Statistics Canada.
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.
Canada’s contribution will be paid in approximately equal semi-annual installments as follows:
- the first installment will be paid on or about June 15 of each Fiscal Year
- notwithstanding the above, in 2020-2021, the first installment will be paid within 30 days after the signatures from both parties are affixed to the Agreement
- the second installment will be paid on or about November 15 of each Fiscal Year
- the amount of the first installment will be an amount equal to 50% of the notional amount of Canada’s maximum contribution to Nova Scotia for the Fiscal Year, which will be calculated in the manner described in sections 4.2.3 and 4.2.4
- the amount of the second installment will be an amount equal to the balance of Canada’s contribution to Nova Scotia for the Fiscal Year based on the actual amount of the contribution determined under sections 4.2.3 and 4.2.4 for the Fiscal Year
- Canada shall withhold payment of its second installment for the Fiscal Year if Nova Scotia has failed to provide its annual audited financial statement for the previous Fiscal Year in accordance with section 5.2.1 (d) until such time as the annual audited statement is provided; and
- 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
4.5 Maximum annual contribution in respect of administration costs
4.5.1 Canada’s contribution in respect of Nova Scotia’s administration costs referred to in section 2.2.3 shall not exceed:
In Fiscal Years 2017-2018, 2018-2019, 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 an amount equal to 10% of the maximum amount payable for those Fiscal Years.
4.6 Carry forward
4.6.1 At the request of Nova Scotia and subject to the approval of Canada's Treasury Board, Nova Scotia may retain and carry forward to Fiscal Year 2018-2019, an amount of up to 50% of the contribution paid to Nova Scotia for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 under section 4.2.3 that is in excess of the amount of the eligible costs actually incurred by Nova Scotia in that Fiscal Year, and may only use the amount carried forward to 2018-2019 for expenditures on eligible areas of investment under section 2.2 in the subsequent Fiscal Year.
4.6.2 For greater certainty, any amount carried forward to Fiscal year 2018-2019 under this section is supplementary to the maximum amount payable to Nova Scotia under section 4.2.3 of this Agreement in 2018-2019.
4.6.3 The amount carried forward, pursuant to section 4.6.1 must be spent by March 31, 2019. Nova Scotia is not entitled to retain any such carried forward amounts that remain unexpended after March 31, 2019, nor is it entitled to retain any balance of Canada's contribution for fiscal year 2018-2019 paid pursuant to section 4.2.3 that remains unexpended at the end of that fiscal year. Such amounts are to be repaid to Canada in accordance with section 4.7.
4.6.4 At the request of Nova Scotia and subject to the approval of Canada's Treasury Board, Nova Scotia may retain and carry forward to Fiscal Year 2019-2020, an amount of up to 10% of the contribution paid to Nova Scotia for Fiscal Year 2018-2019 under section 4.2.3 that is in excess of the amount of the eligible costs actually incurred by Nova Scotia in that Fiscal Year, and may only use the amount carried forward to 2019-2020 for expenditures on eligible areas of investment under section 2.2 in the subsequent Fiscal Year.
4.6.5 Notwithstanding anything else herein, at the request of Nova Scotia and subject to the approval of Canada’s Treasury Board, Nova Scotia may retain and carry forward to Fiscal Year 2020-2021, an amount of up to 10% of the contribution paid to Nova Scotia for 2019-2020 under section 4.2.3 that is in excess of the amount of eligible costs actually incurred by Nova Scotia in that fiscal year, and may only use the amount carried forward to 2020-2021 for expenditures on eligible areas of investment under section 2.2 incurred in that fiscal year.
4.6.6 For greater certainty, any amount carried forward to Fiscal year 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 under this section is supplementary to the maximum amount payable to Nova Scotia under section 4.2.3 of this Agreement in 2019-2020 and 2020-2021.
4.6.7 The amount carried forward, pursuant to sections 4.6.4 and 4.6.5 must be spent by March 31 of the subsequent fiscal year. Nova Scotia is not entitled to retain any such carried forward amounts that remain unexpended after March 31 of the subsequent fiscal year, nor is it entitled to retain any balance of Canada's contribution for fiscal year 2020-2021 paid pursuant to section 4.2.3 that remains unexpended at the end of that fiscal year. Such amounts are to be repaid to Canada in accordance with section 4.7.
4.6.8 In the event that this amendment is approved after March 31, 2020, the parties agree that it is an extension of the April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2020 agreement, with an extension effective from April 1, 2020 up to and including March 31, 2021, and as such carry forward provisions still apply.
4.7 Repayment of overpayment
4.7.1 In the event payments made to Nova Scotia exceed the amount to which Nova Scotia is entitled under the Agreement, 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.
4.8 Use of funds
4.8.1 Canada and Nova Scotia agree that funds provided under this Agreement will only be used by Nova Scotia in accordance with the areas for investment outlined in section 2.2 of this Agreement.
4.8.2 Canada and Nova Scotia agree that, within each Fiscal Year of the period of this Agreement, Nova Scotia may move funding between the individual programming categories outlined in its Action Plan in Annex 2 to ensure the maximum use of funding. Nova Scotia agrees to notify Canada in writing of any such change in funding allocation, including the rationale for the change.
5.1 Action Plan
5.1.1 Nova Scotia has completed and shared its Action Plan for the years 2017-2018 – 2019-2020 of federal funding with Canada, as set out in the Canada-Nova Scotia Early Learning and Child Care Agreement 2017-2020. Upon signature of this Agreement by both Parties, Nova Scotia will publicly release their Action Plan which:
- identifies specific priority areas for investment and objectives, within the Framework’s parameters, which builds upon the progress to date in the quality, accessibility, affordability, flexibility and/or inclusivity of their early learning and child care system, with consideration for those more in need
- describes how Nova Scotia plans to address the early learning and child care needs of its children/families more in need, including families that have limited access to programs and services in their official language
- outlines their planned innovation spending
- demonstrates that federal investments will be incremental, and will not displace existing Nova Scotia early learning and child care spending, in particular spending dedicated to Indigenous populations
- outlines the indicators that will be reported on annually according to their planned investments
- identifies specific targets for each indicator that will be reported on annually for tracking progress in relation to the objectives of the Agreement
- identifies additional jurisdiction-specific indicators for tracking progress in relation to the objectives of the Agreement; and
- 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 Nova Scotia will consult with parents, child care providers, experts, Indigenous peoples, official language minority communities and other interested Canadians as an important step in developing and revising its Action Plan.
5.1.3 Nova Scotia submitted an updated Action Plan for fiscal year 2020-2021, as set out in Annex 2, updating their areas of investments and targets outlined in its Action Plan for Fiscal Years 2017-2018 to 2019-2020, as necessary. This updated Action Plan may include changes to programming and program delivery provided that the more affordable child care spaces funded with federal support continue to be supported as much as possible, subject to extraordinary circumstances. Upon signature of this Agreement by both Parties, the updates to this Action Plan will be publicly released.
5.2.1 By no later than October 1 of each Fiscal Year during the Period of this Agreement, Nova Scotia agrees to:
- report to Canada on the results and expenditures of early learning and child care programs and services attributable to the funding provided by Canada under this Agreement
- continue to provide to Canada data required for the publication of the joint Federal-Provincial/Territorial report on Public Investments in Early Childhood Education and Care in Canada. This shall include the number of children benefiting from subsidies, number of licensed early learning and child care spaces broken down by age of child and type of setting
- provide to Canada an Annual Report in the format and manner decided jointly by Canada and Nova Scotia. The report shall show separately the results attributable to the funding provided by Canada under this Agreement and shall include:
- brief description of the activities, expenditures and results of the Canada-Nova Scotia Early Learning and Child Care Agreement as set out in Annex 2
- results achieved according to the indicators and targets referred to in Annex 2
- impact on families more in need, including families that have limited access to programs and services in their official language referred to in Annex 2
- results achieved on innovation referred to in Annex 2
- description of consultation processes, the type of groups consulted and annual priorities related to stakeholder feedback referred to in Annex 2
- any additional results of evaluation activities undertaken in the Fiscal Year, as available; and
- for year 1, Nova Scotia will provide all available data on the agreed-to indicators by no later than October 1, 2017
- provide to Canada an audited financial statement of revenues received from Canada under this Agreement during the Fiscal Year:
- the revenue section of the statement shall show the amount received from Canada under this Agreement during the Fiscal Year
- the total amount of funding used for ELCC programs and services under section 2.2
- the administration costs incurred by Nova Scotia in developing and administering ELCC programs under section 2.2.3
- if applicable, the amount of any amount carried forward by Nova Scotia under section 4.6
- 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 Nova Scotia Auditor General or his/her delegate, or by an independent public accounting firm registered under the laws of Nova Scotia and shall be conducted in accordance with Canadian Generally Accepted Auditing Standards.
5.2.2 Canada, with prior notice to Nova Scotia, may incorporate all or any part or parts of the said report 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
5.3.1 Nova Scotia will ensure that expenditure information presented in the annual report is, in accordance with Nova Scotia’s standard accounting practices, complete and accurate.
5.4.1 As per established policies and processes with respect to program effectiveness, Nova Scotia may evaluate programs and services receiving funds provided under this Agreement at the request of Canada and make public the results of any such evaluations.
6.0 Long-term collaboration
6.1 Canada and Nova Scotia agree to share and release data as available, and knowledge, research and information on effective and innovative practices in early learning and child care, to further support the development of and reporting on quality and outcomes. Canada and Nova Scotia agree to work together, and with stakeholders, towards the development of common quality and outcome measures that could be included in bilateral agreements in the future that could reinforce the Framework’s long-term vision.
6.2 Canada and Nova Scotia agree to work together to improve data collection and dissemination on key early learning and child care information for children under age six.
7.1 Canada and Nova Scotia 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 Each government will receive the appropriate credit and visibility when investments financed through funds granted under this Agreement are announced to the public.
7.3 Canada agrees to give Nova Scotia 10 days advance notice of public communications related to the Framework, bilateral agreements, and results of the investments of this Agreement.
7.4 Nova Scotia 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.
7.5 Canada reserves the right to conduct public communications, announcements, events, outreach and promotional activities about the Framework and bilateral agreements.
8.0 Dispute resolution
8.1 Canada and Nova Scotia are committed to working together and avoiding disputes through government-to-government information exchange, advance notice, early consultation, discussion, clarification, and resolution of issues, as they arise.
8.2 If at any time either Canada or Nova Scotia 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 Nova Scotia, as the case may be, may notify the other party in writing of the failure or breach. Upon such notice, Canada and Nova Scotia 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 of Canada and Nova Scotia most responsible for early learning and child care, and if it cannot be resolved by them, then the respective federal Minister and Nova Scotia Minister shall endeavour to resolve the dispute.
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, in the case of Canada, by the federal Minister, and in the case of Nova Scotia, by Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development.
10.0 Equality of treatment
10.1 During the term of this Agreement, if another province or territory, except the province of Quebec, which is not part of the Framework, negotiates and enters into an Early Learning and Child Care Agreement with Canada, or negotiates and enters into an amendment to such an agreement and if, in the reasonable opinion of Nova Scotia, any provision of that agreement or amended agreement is more favourable to that province or territory than terms set forth in this Agreement, Canada agrees to amend this Agreement in order to afford similar treatment to Nova Scotia, if requested by Nova Scotia. This includes any provision of the bilateral agreement except for the Financial Provisions set out under section 4.0. This amendment shall be retroactive to the date on which the Agreement or the amendment to such an Agreement with the other province or territory, as the case may be, comes into force.
10.2 Canada will make publicly available up-to-date Early Learning and Child Care Agreements entered into with all provinces and territories, including any amendments, by posting them on a Government of Canada website.
11.1 Canada may terminate this Agreement at any time if the terms of this Agreement are not respected by Nova Scotia by giving at least 12 months written notice of its intention to terminate.
11.2 As the effective date of termination of this Agreement under section 11.1, Canada shall have no obligation to make any further payments to Nova Scotia after the date of effective termination.
12.1 Any notice, information or document provided for under this Agreement will be effectively given if 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 eight 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
The address for notice or communication to Nova Scotia shall be:
Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
2021 Brunswick Street
Halifax NS B3J 2S9
13.1 This Agreement, including Annexes 1 and 2, comprise the entire agreement entered into by the Parties with respect to the subject matter hereof.
13.2 This Agreement is based on the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework, Annex 1, concluded on June 12, 2017.
13.3 This Agreement shall be interpreted according to the laws of Canada and Nova Scotia.
13.4 No member of the House of Commons or of the Senate of Canada or of the Legislature of Nova Scotia shall be admitted to any share or part of this Agreement, or to any benefit arising therefrom.
13.5 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.
13.6 This Agreement is drafted in English at the request of the Parties. Les parties ont convenu que le présent Accord soit rédigé en anglais.
Signed on behalf of Canada by the Minister of Families Children and Social Development in Gatineau this 4th day of December, 2020.
[Signed by] The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
Signed on behalf of Nova Scotia by the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Education at Halifax this 11th day of December, 2020.
[Signed by] The Honourable Zach Churchill, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development.
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 on this agreement, please consult the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework.
Annex 2: Nova Scotia’s action plan
For Nova Scotia’s 2017-2020 Action Plan, see Canada – Nova Scotia Early Learning and Child Care Agreement 2017-2020, Annex 2: Nova Scotia’s Action Plan
Nova Scotia’s updated Action Plan for 2020-2021
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nova Scotia’s ability to deliver on the initiatives outlined in the 2020-2021 Action Plan may be affected. As such, the targets may not be achieved and expenditures may differ.
The Province of Nova Scotia recognizes the importance of investing in children and their early years and is committed to a vision where all children in Nova Scotia have access to high-quality, affordable, and inclusive early learning programs.
The early learning and child care sector in Nova Scotia is currently going through a period of transformation. Over the last three years, funding from the Early Learning and Child Care Agreement (ELCCA) has allowed Nova Scotia to move forward with a number of actions focused on quality, best practice, inclusion, and innovation in early learning. The action plan of the 2017-2020 ELCCA was based on the direction for the future of early learning and child care in Nova Scotia as set out in the release of the 2016 action plan, Affordable, Quality Child Care: A Great Place to Grow!
In addition to action items implemented through the ELCCA, several new initiatives have been introduced over the past four years, including the Pre-primary Program, Nova Scotia Early Learning Curriculum Framework, Pyramid Model, and Quality Matters. As these programs and resources are implemented and become a part of the early learning landscape in Nova Scotia, our focus turns to seeking out opportunities to enhance quality in early learning and child care programs.
The Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (EECD) has continued to engage stakeholders, including families, early childhood educators, education and training institutions, child care operators, and Pre-primary Programs to understand more about how to continue raising the bar in ensuring that early learning opportunities are high quality for all, and support those most in need through training and development and upskilling of the current workforce.
Nova Scotia’s early childhood educator (ECE) workforce development plan is to ensure that early learning and child care programs have qualified staff who provide supportive environments which contribute to positive outcomes for children and support families. This will be accomplished through:
- a responsive and skilled ECE workforce that is valued, recognized as a profession and compensated accordingly
- opportunities for ECEs to upskill, grow and advance in their practice
- systems and practices supported and informed by evidence
As the 2017-2020 agreement term came to a successful conclusion, Nova Scotia prepared to move forward with strategically focused priorities to support the delivery of high-quality early learning and child care programs, both within regulated child care, which includes licensed child care centres and family daycare home providers, operating under a Family Home Daycare Agency (which will be referred to as centres and providers), and the Pre-primary Program.
EECD intended to utilize 2020-2021 ELCCA funding to continue a number of initiatives identified through the 2017-2020 action plan, and to implement new initiatives that will support the long-term plan for the development of high-quality early learning and child care in Nova Scotia.
Despite these plans, it became apparent that there are more pressing issues impacting the child care sector in Nova Scotia in Spring 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, the plan for the 2020-2021 ELCCA has shifted to better support the immediate needs of regulated child care programs, children, and families in Nova Scotia impacted by COVID-19.
2020-2021 ELCCA funding will continue to support newly licensed centres, providers, and spaces from the previous ELCCA, as well as enhancements made to the Child Care Subsidy Program. This will continue to ensure affordable and accessible child care is available to support children and families accessing early learning programs, particularly those in need such as lower-income families, official languages minority communities, Indigenous families, lone-parent families, families in underserved communities, those working non-standard hours, and/or families with children with varying abilities.
In addition, Nova Scotia will be supporting 2 new initiatives: funding for COVID-19 related expenses, and support for untrained staff currently working in child care. More detail about these initiatives can be found in Section 2.
It is the intention of EECD that the identified initiatives not able to be addressed this year will be a part of the next bilateral agreement with the Government of Canada. These initiatives will continue to support the development of an evidence-informed early learning and child care system through the development of a responsive and skilled ECE workforce. These initiatives will provide a strong foundation for the early learning and child care sector in Nova Scotia and allow for us to continue to grow and develop in future years. Nova Scotia’s priorities for 2021 will align with federal priorities and NS will be prepared to sign a new agreement immediately subject to appropriate approvals at the provincial and federal level.
Below is an update of the continued funding of 2017-2020 action plan initiatives (section 1) and an overview of new initiatives for 2020-2021 (section 2).
Section 1 – 2017-2020 Action Plan initiatives
The summary table below provides information on the 2017-2020 action plan initiatives that will continue to be funded in 2020-2021.
Summary table of the investments from 2017-2020
Initiative: Enhancements to the Child Care Subsidy Program
Description of Initiative: Federal investments have enabled more families to access increased financial support to pay for child care. Through investments in the Child Care Subsidy Program, the turning point was increased from an annual income of $25,000 to $35,000. In addition, the Assessed Daily Parent Fee sliding scale, used to calculate the amount of subsidy an eligible family will receive, was adjusted for all income levels up to the break-even point of $70,080 per year, enabling families to receive a higher subsidy rate. As well, the subsidy program was expanded for families who require flexible and part-time care.
2020-2021 funding will be used to maintain these changes in the program to ensure that families continue to have access to affordable child care. Due to the current situation many families find themselves financially strained, and as a result of COVID-19, there is a possibility that more families may be eligible for subsidy support in 2020-2021.
|Priority 1: Making child care more accessible and affordable for Nova Scotian families||$5,269,000||Number of children receiving maximum subsidy; number of children impacted by change in sliding scale||Maintain 550 children receiving the maximum subsidy per diem; maintain 675 children qualifying for increased funding through the child care subsidy program.|
Initiative: Strategic Growth of the Regulated Child Care System
Description of Initiative: Nova Scotia’s Strategic Growth plan has increased accessibility to regulated child care across Nova Scotia. This investment has increased the number of child care spaces in underserved communities with a concerted focus on infant care which will better support harder to reach families.
Federal investment will continue to provide operational funding for child care centres, child care centre spaces, and family daycare home provider sites, operating under licensed Family Home Daycare Agencies, which were all created under the Strategic Growth plan.
|Priority 1: Making child care more accessible and affordable for Nova Scotian families||
$340,000 for regulated child care centres
$100,000 for family home child care start-ups
|Number of child care spaces created; number of new family daycare home providers||Maintain 500 spaces in regulated child care; maintain 90 family daycare home providers|
Initiative: Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) ECE Diploma Program Expansion
Description of Initiative:There is a continued demand for trained early childhood educators (ECEs) in Nova Scotia. In July 2018, the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC), one of the ECE diploma-granting institutions in Nova Scotia, was directed by the Province to expand the Early Childhood Education diploma program across the province by 135 new seats. Even with this expansion, the NSCC reported 140 individuals waitlisted for the Early Childhood Education diploma program as of September 2019.
Last year, EECD used 2017-2020 ELCCA funds to support the NSCC in offering a one-time addition of two cohorts of 30 new training seats each (60 seats total) starting in January 2020. This year, 2020-2021 ELCCA funds will be used to continue to support the 60 students.
|Priority 2: Supporting quality through workforce development||$136,540||Number of ECEs engaged in ECE diploma program||60 students engaged in ECE diploma program|
Initiative: Professional development
Description of Initiative: This year, ELCCA funding will be used to continue to support the professional development of ECEs on the Early Learning Curriculum Framework for staff in early learning and child care programs, including the development and delivery of online professional development platforms. As well, funds will be used to offer a series of online early childhood education webinars to staff in early learning and child care, to develop and distribute early childhood education resources to support staff in early learning and child care, and to provide updates to the Early Learning Curriculum Framework. The funds will allow approximately 1,000 ECEs to engage in online professional development training.
|Priority 2: Supporting quality through workforce development||$125,000||Number of ECEs engaged in professional development||1,000 ECEs engaged in professional development|
Initiative: Inclusion Support Grant (ISG)
Description of Initiative: Funding will be used to continue the Inclusion Support Grant, which is provided to regulated child care centres to support their commitment to build their capacity to provide inclusive programming for children with complex needs and from diverse backgrounds. Funding supports centre investments in the acquisition of resources and additional staffing to support developmental, social and physical inclusion for vulnerable, and/or low-income children who may require specialized supports, when necessary.
|Priority 3: Imbedding inclusion in early learning and child care environments||$1,250,000||Number and percentage of regulated child care centres accessing funding through the ISG||100 per cent of eligible regulated child care centres accessing the ISG|
Initiative: Pyramid Model
Description of Initiative: Under the 2017-2020 ELCCA, Nova Scotia introduced the Pyramid Model for Promoting Social Emotional Competence in Infants and Young Children, which will provide a framework of evidence-based practices for promoting social emotional and behavioural development which was specifically developed for use in early childhood care and learning environment. Coaches began working with 22 child care centres in December 2018 to implement the Pyramid Model Program in their centres, with Professional Development support from a Pyramid Model Coach and the Master Cadre trainers. Currently, there are 20 implementation sites engaged in the Pyramid Model Program.
This year, EECD will use $75,000 of ELCCA funding to continue to support Pyramid Model implementation. The funds will be used to further develop the data collection processes, professional development of coaches, educators, and implementation cohort sites with the goal of increasing fidelity and sustainability of the model. This will ensure information is flowing to coaches and the Provincial Leadership Team in order to enhance data driven decision making at the centre and provincial level. Funding will enable the development and dissemination of pyramid model implementation materials through the creation of reports, info graphics, and other communication tools for community stakeholders, early childhood educators, programs, and families. The essential support structures created will assist the cohort sites in taking the pyramid model to full implementation, with the aim of establishing internal processes and coaching capacity to reach program-wide fidelity and internal sustainability. As we continue to develop Nova Scotia Pyramid Model Implementation framework the Provincial Leadership will build the critical support elements and infrastructure needed to move to full implementation and plan for scale up of the Model in Nova Scotia. In addition, we will outline the ongoing resources and infrastructures that are required to expand the Pyramid Model province-wide and explore the capacity within the system and adjust as necessary in order to ensure the long term success of the model.
|Priority 3: Supporting quality through workforce development||$75,000||Number of Pyramid Model implementation sites||Continued support of 20 Pyramid Model implementation sites|
Continuing programs that will end in 2020-2021
Initiative: Infant Incentive
Description of Initiative: The infant incentive was intended to incentivize child care providers to increase their infant spaces by providing $4 per space per day in child care and $2 per space per day in family day care homes to offset the increased costs of providing infant care.
The funding, introduced as part of the Strategic Growth Initiatives, will continue to maintain 1,000 funded infant spaces at regulated child care centres and 280 funded infant spaces at FHCC providers until March 31, 2021.
|Priority 1: Making child care more accessible and affordable for Nova Scotian families||$940,000||Number of infant spaces funded through the Infant Incentive Grant||Maintain 1,000 funded infant spaces at regulated child care centres and 280 funded infant spaces at family home child care (FHCC) providers|
Initiative: Tuition Support Program
Description of Initiative: Through the original ELCCA, funding was provided to students enrolling in the two-year ECE diploma program at one of three private career colleges in the province. There remains one year of funding for a cohort of students in their second year. Once this funding has been provided, the initiative will be complete by March 2021.
|Priority 2: Supporting quality through workforce development||$170,000||Number of students receiving tuition support||85 students receiving tuition support|
Section 2 – New, one-year Action Plan initiatives for 2020-2021
New action plan initiatives will enable Nova Scotia to respond to the issues faced by child care centres, families, and children due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while continuing to support the advancement of quality in early learning programs through training opportunities.
Federal investments in the identified new initiatives will not replace already committed provincial early learning and child care spending.
The table below outlines the new initiatives in the one-year Action Plan for 2020-2021.
Summary table of the investments for 2020-2021
Initiative: COVID-related expenses
Description of Initiative: In Nova Scotia, all regulated child care centres and providers operating under licensed Family Home Daycare Agencies were ordered to close effective March 17, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During this time, Nova Scotia recognized the value in ensuring that the regulated child care sector remained viable. As such, measures were put in place to address and mitigate any operational costs and pressures that child care centres and providers encountered due to COVID-19. EECD funding continued to be provided, as long as funding criteria was met (i.e., staff continue to be paid), and subsidy allocations for families continued.
The intention of these measures was to ensure that child care operators and providers were supported and able to remain viable, understanding that Nova Scotians would need access to regulated child care as public safety measures are lifted.
In addition, EECD understood that many parents and families would be impacted financially due to the state of emergency – through loss of employment, reduction of hours, etc. As such, it was imperative that parents not be charged parent fees when centres were closed, and that their spots in child care centres were held for them during the closure. These measures were intended to reduce the financial burden and resulting stress on families at an extremely difficult time. The directive was issued to centres and providers to ensure no families lost their spots and that they would not be charged fees when they were not accessing care. This family centered approach was put in place to ensure no family was forced to pay child care fees when they were experiencing financial hardship.
Child care centres in Nova Scotia commenced re-opening on June 15, 2020 at 50% capacity and with full staffing (providers resumed at full capacity). A COVID-19 Guide for Child Care Settings document was created by Public Health experts, with input from child care operators/agencies, early childhood educators, pediatrics and infection control specialists. Each child care centre and provider is required to create a site plan that follows the Public Health directives in the Guide.
During the re-opening period, child care centres will receive funding on a sliding scale until September, as they increase their capacity from 50% while continuing to adhere with Public Health measures. Parents will not be charged parent fees if their child is not attending child care at this time. Children’s spots will remain secured until September 1, 2020, even if the child is not attending child care.
In addition, EECD is supporting centres/providers with hand sanitizer and masks. These will be provided at no cost, for a period of six months, at which time the need for such supplies will be re-evaluated.
Although the cost to EECD to implement the measures above will far exceed $2.6M, the funds provided through the ELCCA will ensure that child care continues to be accessible to children and families in Nova Scotia. From the date that centres were mandated to close in mid-March to early June 2020, the Government of Nova Scotia has spent $25M in addition to regular funding to support the child care sector and families. Centres and providers will be re-opening June 15th at 50% capacity, with the expectation that capacity will increase incrementally over the next few months. As a result, EECD is committed to supporting centres as they work towards full capacity.
EECD was able to conduct a thorough review of the ongoing and new initiatives to determine what funding could be re-purposed to support COVID-19 related expenses. A significant portion of 2020-2021 ELCCA funding is dedicated to ongoing initiatives implemented through the previous ELCCA. For example, $5.2M in subsidy costs and $1.25M for the Inclusion Support Grant. Other ongoing initiatives were able to have budget readjustments in order to provide additional funds to support COVID-19 related expenses and the immediate needs of the child care sector. For example, the cost to support new child care centres and spaces through strategic growth funding was originally estimated to be approximately $850,000. However, due to construction delays, which have been further impacted by COVID-19, as well as an anticipated reduction in attendance once centres are able to open, the strategic growth budget has been reduced to $340,000. Additional funds came from the decision to postpone the majority of new initiatives planned for this year. Through these measures, EECD will be able to provide $2.6M in ELCCA funding to support COVID-19 related expenses in the early learning sector.
In addition, any funds not expended as outlined in Section 1 will be redirected to COVID-19 related expenses. For example, if the entire strategic growth budget is not expended due to additional delays, funds would be redirected to support additional child care spaces beyond the 2,500 spaces identified above.
|Priority 1: Making child care more accessible and affordable for Nova Scotian families||$2,634,197||Number of child care spaces supported||2,500 child care spaces supported|
Initiative: Level 1 Training Program
Description of Initiative: In 2020 and beyond, Nova Scotia will build on the momentum of the initial three years of the ELCCA, with a focus on recognizing the commitment of those who are already working in the early childhood education sector.
As of December 31, 2019, there were more than 600 people working in regulated child care who were untrained (i.e., held a classification in Nova Scotia of ‘untrained’ or ‘entry level’). Through in-service training programs, Nova Scotia will look for opportunities over the next few years to support individuals currently working in the early learning sector who have less than diploma-level training.
Level 1 is the classification requiring some post-secondary education training. To obtain a Level 1 classification, individuals must meet the following:
- Completion of the Orientation for Staff Working in Licensed Child Care Facilities
- Completion of course work inclusive of three courses in the following subject areas:
- child development
- behaviour guidance
- curriculum; and
- programming for young children
- Completion of two guided workplace experiences
Currently only three training institutions can officially deliver this training — Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC), Université Sainte-Anne (USA) and one private career college, Nova Scotia College of Early Childhood Education (NSCECE).
In Spring 2019 a partnership with the YWCA Halifax – A Turning Point for Women was formed to learn of the barriers to education facing those who are working in early childhood education. Through this project, barriers identified included: time to study, upfront costs, access to technology, and lack of career and academic supports. In response, a pilot project was developed with NSCC to provide up to 40 untrained people already working in the sector with an opportunity to obtain the training to be eligible for a level 1 classification. The interest was overwhelming with over 150 people applying within a few days. As a result, the pilot participation was doubled to 80 seats.
With 2020-2021 ELCCA funding, Nova Scotia will expand the “Level 1” Training Program to an additional 3 cohorts, including 2 – 40 person cohorts with an English training institution and 1 – 20 person cohort in French with Université Sainte-Anne.
|Priority 2: Supporting quality through workforce development||$1,000,000||Number of individuals who complete L1 training, including 1 Francophone cohort||100 individuals participate in L1 training|
Canada - Nova Scotia Early Learning and Child Care Agreement 2020-2021 Summary table of investments
Priority 1: Making child care more accessible and affordable for Nova Scotian families
|Description||New or continuing||Budget|
|Enhancements to the child care subsidy program||Continuing||$5,269,000|
|Strategic growth: New child care centres and ongoing centre costs (Quality Investment Grant / Program Support Funding (QIG / PSF))||Continuing||$340,000|
|Strategic growth: Family Home Day Care (FHDC) start-ups and ongoing FHDC costs||Continuing||$100,000|
|Strategic growth: Infant incentive - FHDC and Child Care||Continuing||$940,000|
Subtotal for priority 1: $9,283,197
Priority 2: Supporting quality through workforce development
|Description||New or continuing||Budget|
|NSCC ECE diploma||Continuing||$136,540|
|Workforce training and upskilling||New||$1,000,000|
Subtotal for priority 2: $1,431,540
Priority 3: Imbedding inclusion in early learning and child care environments
|Description||New or continuing||Budget|
|Inclusion Support Grant (ISG)/Non-ratio support staff grant||Continuing||$1,250,000|
Subtotal for priority 3: $1,325,000
|Description||New or continuing||Budget|
Subtotal for administration: $543,500
Total 2020-2021 ELCCA funding: $11,648,183
Carry Forward from 2019-2020: $935,054
Total 2020-2021 ELCCA funding available: $12,583,237
Total estimated 2020-2021 ELCCA: $12,583,237
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