Canada ‒ Prince Edward Island Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement - 2021 to 2026 

Official title: Canada-Prince Edward Island Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement

Note: The Canada-Prince Edward Island Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement (fiscal year 2021 to 2022 to fiscal year 2025 to 2026) has been amended – Amendment 1.

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List of abbreviations
CWELCC
Canada-wide early learning and child care
DESDA
Department of Employment and Social Development Act
ECE
Early childhood educators
ECDA
Early Childhood Development Association
ELCC
Early learning and child care
EYC
Early Years Centre
FES
Fall Economic Statement
FTE
Full-time equivalent
PEI
Prince Edward Island
PT
Part-time

Canada-Prince Edward Island Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement

Between:

Referred to collectively as the “Parties”.

Preamble

Whereas, Canada and Prince Edward Island 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, hereto attached as Annex 2.

Whereas, Canada and Prince Edward Island 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 or work in the province.

Whereas, building on the 2020 Fall Economic Statement (FES), 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 early learning and child care (ELCC), 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 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, the Executive Council Act authorizes the Prince Edward Island Minister to enter in agreements with the Government of Canada under which Canada undertakes to provide funding toward costs incurred by the Government of Prince Edward Island 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, Prince Edward Island invests in early learning and child care for Indigenous children and Canada and Prince Edward Island agree to work collaboratively with Indigenous governing bodies and organizations to achieve a Canada-wide ELCC system.

Now therefore, Canada and Prince Edward Island 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 Prince Edward Island 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 or work.

1.2 Canada and Prince Edward Island aspire to the following objectives:

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

1.3 Canada and Prince Edward Island 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 Prince Edward Island commit to the following provincial objectives:

  • affordability:
    • Prince Edward Island 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
    • Prince Edward Island 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/day by the end of fiscal year 2025 to 2026
  • accessibility:
    • Prince Edward Island commits to using federal funding to increase the net number of regulated early learning and child care spaces for children under age 6 to achieve a coverage rate of 59% by fiscal year 2025 to 2026
    • in creating these early learning and child care spaces, Prince Edward Island commits that:
      • federal funding will be used predominantly to support not-for-profit, public early learning and child care providers/operations, as well as family home child care
      • federal funding will be exclusively used to support regulated early learning and child care delivery by licensed providers
  • quality:
    • Prince Edward Island commits to use federal funds to demonstrate meaningful progress on improving quality, as detailed in Annex 3 (Prince Edward Island’s Canada-wide fiscal year 2021 to 2022 to fiscal year 2022 to 2023 Action Plan) (Action Plan), 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 (ECEs) and committing to its implementation
      • increasing the percentage of individuals certified at Prince Edward Island’s Early Childhood Educator –Level II or higher pursuant to the Early Learning and Child Care Act and associated regulations
  • inclusive:
    • Prince Edward Island commits to develop and fund a plan to ensure that new space creation ensures diverse and/or children and families who are more vulnerable – 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 are included in the Action Plan
    • in supporting inclusive early learning and child care, Prince Edward Island commits:
      • to track the number of inclusive spaces with inclusive programming created/converted as well as the annual public expenditures on early learning and child care programming dedicated to children from diverse and/or families who are more vulnerable
  • data sharing and reporting:
    • Prince Edward Island commits to share financial and administrative data (including micro data) needed to monitor progress in establishing the Canada-wide system

2.1.2 Prince Edward Island’s policy and approach to achieving these objectives is set out in its Action Plan attached as Annex 3.

2.2 Eligible areas of investment

2.2.1 Prince Edward Island agrees to use funds provided by Canada under this Agreement to support the expansion of regulated early learning and 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 early learning and 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 early learning and child care services rather than distributed for the personal benefit of owners, members, investors or to enhance asset growth
  3. early learning and child care programs and services are defined as those directly supporting children in settings including, but not limited to, regulated early learning and child care centres, regulated family child care centers, and preschools

2.2.2 In developing and delivering its ELCC programs and services, Prince Edward Island agrees to take into account the needs of official language minority communities in its jurisdiction.

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

2.2.4 Canada and Prince Edward Island also agree to promote, define, and deliver innovative approaches to enhance the quality, accessibility, affordability, flexibility, and inclusivity of ELCC systems, with consideration for those more in need as defined in section 2.2.5.

2.2.5 Canada and Prince Edward Island agree that funding will be targeted toward regulated programs and activities, as described above, for children under age 6, that will have an impact on families, 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 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, unless terminated in writing by Canada or Prince Edward Island 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.

3.2 Canada-wide early learning and child care bilateral agreements

3.2.1 Extension of this Agreement beyond March 31, 2026 will provide Prince Edward Island and Canada the opportunity to review and course correct, if required, and realign new priorities in future Agreements based on progress made to date.

3.2.2 In the event this Agreement is extended in accordance with the terms of sections 3.2.1 and 9.0, Prince Edward Island 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 and not in lieu of those that Canada currently pays to Prince Edward Island through the Canada Social Transfer, or any other agreement Canada has with Prince Edward Island in relation to ELCC, in order to support early childhood development and ELCC within Prince Edward Island.

4.2 Allocation to Prince Edward Island

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, Prince Edward Island’s estimated projected share of the amounts described in section 4.2.1 will be:

Table 1: Prince Edward Island’s estimated projected share of financial provisions by fiscal year
Fiscal year Estimated amount to be paid to Prince Edward Island* (subject to annual adjustment)
2021 to 2022 $13,651,009
2022 to 2023 $19,759,696
2023 to 2024 $23,960,291
2024 to 2025 $27,667,255
2025 to 2026 $32,679,018

* 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 through 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.

  1. For the fiscal year 2021 to 2022 Canada has agreed to provide to Prince Edward Island, in addition to the amount set out in 4.2.2, $3,570,968 in workforce funding, subject to Parliamentary approval of appropriations, the particulars of which are set out in Annex 1 of this Agreement

4.2.3 The final amount to be paid to Prince Edward Island for the fiscal year will be calculated using the 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 from all provinces and territories
  • K is the total population of children aged 0 to 12 in Prince Edward Island on July 1 of that fiscal year, as determined using population estimates from Statistics Canada
  • L 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 Prince Edward Island 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 quarterly 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 5.2 are satisfied

4.4.2 In each fiscal year, the amount of the first installment will be an amount equal to 50% of the total amount of Canada’s maximum contribution to Prince Edward Island for the fiscal year, which will be calculated using Statistics Canada 0 to 12 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 Prince Edward Island 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.

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

4.4.5 In fiscal year 2023 to 2024, Canada shall withhold payment of its first installment if Canada has not received from Prince Edward Island its planned Action Plan for fiscal year 2023 to 2024 through fiscal year 2025 to 2026, in accordance with requirements outlined in section 5.1.

4.4.6 Starting in fiscal year 2022 to 2023, Canada shall withhold payment of its first installment for a fiscal year if Canada has not received from Prince Edward Island all information requested under section 4.4.8 for the payment of its second installment from the previous fiscal year.

4.4.7 Starting in fiscal year 2022 to 2023, Canada may withhold amounts payable in respect of fiscal year if Prince Edward Island is unable to meet the objectives of the Agreement, in accordance with section 2.

4.4.8 Starting in fiscal year 2022 to 2023, Canada shall withhold payment of its second installment for that fiscal year until Prince Edward Island provides an annual 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).

4.4.9 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. In the event that the second installment payment made to Prince Edward Island is determined to be less than the amount to which Prince Edward Island is owed under the terms of section 4, the amount of the underpayment is considered a credit due to Prince Edward Island and shall be paid upon receipt of notice to do so within the period specified in the notice.

4.4.10 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 Prince Edward Island is subject to an annual appropriation by Prince Edward Island’s Legislature.

4.5 Maximum annual contribution in respect of administration costs

4.5.1 Canada’s contribution in respect of Prince Edward Island’s administration costs referred to in section 2.2.3 shall not exceed:

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

4.6 Carry forward

4.6.1 Starting in fiscal year 2021 to 2022, at the request of Prince Edward Island, and subject to approval of Canada’s Treasury Board, Prince Edward Island may retain and carry forward to the following fiscal year any unexpended funds remaining from Prince Edward Island’s annual contribution payable under section 4.2, up to a maximum of 54% in year 1 and 12% in year 2 and 10% ongoing of the contribution payable. In fiscal years 2023 to 2024, 2024 to 2025, and 2025 to2026, any unexpended funds in excess of 10% of the contribution payable represents an overpayment subject to section 4.7.

4.6.2 Prince Edward Island 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.

4.6.3 For greater certainty, any amount carried forward under section 4.6.1 is supplementary to the maximum amount payable to Prince Edward Island under section 4.2 of this Agreement during the fiscal year in which the funding is carried forward.

4.6.4 All amounts carried forward to the next fiscal year, pursuant to section 4.6.1 must be spent by the end of that fiscal year. Prince Edward Island 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 in accordance with section 4.7.

4.7 Repayment of overpayment

4.7.1 In the event payments made to Prince Edward Island exceed the amount to which Prince Edward Island 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 Prince Edward Island under this Agreement.

4.8 Use of funds

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

4.8.2 Canada and Prince Edward Island agree that, within each fiscal year of the period of this Agreement, Prince Edward Island may move funding between the individual programming categories outlined in its Action Plan in Annex 3 to ensure the maximum use of funding. Prince Edward Island 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 Prince Edward Island.

4.8.3 Canada and Prince Edward Island 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

  1. Prince Edward Island has completed and shared its Action Plan for fiscal year 2021 to 2022 and fiscal year 2022 to 2023 (Annex 3). Subsequently, Prince Edward Island will provide an Action Plan for fiscal years 2023 to 2024 to fiscal year 2025 to 2026 by the beginning of fiscal year 2023 to 2024. Prince Edward Island 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 3, 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 early learning and child care centres, regulated family child care homes, and more)
      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, and more)
      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 early learning and 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 to12 years in flexible regulated ELCC arrangements and number and proportion of centers/providers that provide flexible arrangements (that is, 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 early learning and 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 early learning and child care programs in Prince Edward Island who fully meet the Government of Prince Edward Island’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 Prince Edward Island 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 6-12 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 early learning and child care subsidies provided by parents’ income level
      3. average child-to-staff ratio among licensed early learning and 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 Prince Edward Island will consult with parents, early learning and 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. Prince Edward Island 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, Prince Edward Island 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 one or both of the Parties and Canada will be able to provide Prince Edward Island 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, Prince Edward Island 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 during the Period of this Agreement, Prince Edward Island agrees to:

  1. provide to Canada an annual report in the format and manner decided jointly by Canada and Prince Edward Island. 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 3
    2. results achieved in working towards the vision for Canada-wide ELCC set out in this Agreement, including average early learning and child care fees and progress toward the average 50% reduction in fees by the end of 2022 and reaching an average fee of $10/day by fiscal year 2025 to 2026
    3. results achieved according to the indicators and targets referred to in Annex 3
    4. the impact on families more in need, as described in section 2.2.5, including progress toward specific Prince Edward Island targets as described in Annex 3, 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 3
    7. any additional results of an annual early learning and child care census as per section 5.2.2 (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 the 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 Prince Edward Island in developing and administering ELCC programs under section 2.2.3
    4. if applicable, the amount of any amount carried forward by Prince Edward Island under section 4.6
    5. if applicable, the amount of any surplus funds that are to be repaid to Canada under section 4.7
    6. if applicable, the amount of any underpayment that are to be paid to Prince Edward Island under section 4.4.9

    The financial statement shall be prepared in accordance with Canadian Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and the audit shall be performed by the Prince Edward Island Auditor General or his/her delegate, or by an independent public accounting firm registered under the laws of Prince Edward Island 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 Prince Edward Island 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, Prince Edward Island agrees to report to the people of Prince Edward Island 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 Prince Edward Island Action Plan, Prince Edward Island agrees to undertake, and share results with Canada from, an annual census of early learning and child care providers and other participants in the sector in Prince Edward Island 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 early learning and child care spaces supported and other relevant information to be mutually agreed upon by both parties. 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 Prince Edward Island, 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.

5.2.4 Prince Edward Island, with prior notice to Canada, may incorporate all or any part or parts of the published annual report described under section 5.2.2 (a) or published National Progress Report, as outlined in Annex 2 under the Public Reporting section into any public report that Prince Edward Island may prepare for its own purposes, including any reports to the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island or reports that may be made public.

5.3 Audit

  1. Prince Edward Island will ensure that expenditure information presented in the annual report is, in accordance with Prince Edward Island’s standard accounting practices, complete and accurate.

5.4 Evaluation

  1. As per established policies and processes with respect to program effectiveness, Prince Edward Island will evaluate programs and services receiving funds provided under this Agreement and make public the results of any such evaluations.
  2. Prince Edward Island 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 an average of $10 a day child care, Canada and Prince Edward Island will create an officials-level Implementation Committee that will monitor progress towards this goal in consultation with stakeholders. Prince Edward Island will provide data to support the work of the Implementation Committee.

6.2 Canada and Prince Edward Island, 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 to 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 an average of $10/day early learning and child care, in consultation with stakeholders
  7. in December 2022, report to the Governments of Canada and Prince Edward Island on progress towards Canada and Prince Edward Island’s shared goals to date and for the remaining term of the Agreement

6.3 Canada and Prince Edward Island 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 Prince Edward Island 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 Prince Edward Island 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 Prince Edward Island recognize the importance of ensuring that the public is informed of Canada’s financial contributions to Prince Edward Island’s ELCC programs and services, funded under this Agreement.

7.3 Prince Edward Island agrees to acknowledge Canada’s contribution by including federal identification in all public communications and marketing products, promotional material and advertising.

7.4 Canada agrees to acknowledge Prince Edward Island’s contribution in public communications and marketing products, promotional material and advertising where specifically related to or associated with Prince Edward Island.

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

7.6 Prince Edward Island reserves the right to conduct public communications, announcements, events, outreach and promotional activities about the Framework and bilateral agreements. Prince Edward Island 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.

7.7 Canada and Prince Edward Island agree to participate in a joint announcement upon signing of this Agreement.

7.8 Canada and Prince Edward Island agree to work together to identify opportunities for joint announcements relating to programs funded under this Agreement.

7.9 Prince Edward Island will make best efforts to require service providers (for example, Early Years Centres and Family Home Centres), funded under this Agreement to display federal identification to recognize that the programs and services provided receive Canada’s financial assistance.

7.10 Prince Edward Island agrees that promotional communications to all groups receiving funding through this Agreement (that is, early learning and child care centres, regulated family home centres, preschools and businesses, associations, unions, training institutions, universities, colleges, and career colleges) will include federal identification and recognize Canada’s financial assistance.

7.11 Canada will provide a mutually agreed upon standard letter to Prince Edward Island for use in notifying all recipients of funding from this Agreement, to include federal and Prince Edward Island 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 Prince Edward Island 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 Prince Edward Island 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 Prince Edward Island, as the case may be, may notify the other party in writing of the failure or breach. Upon such notice, Canada and Prince Edward Island 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 Prince Edward Island Minister shall endeavour to resolve the dispute.

8.4 If either party has failed to comply with its obligations or undertakings and where Prince Edward Island 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, 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

9.2.1 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 Prince Edward Island by giving at least 6 months written notice of Canada’s intention to terminate the Agreement. Prince Edward Island 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 Prince Edward Island’s intention to terminate the Agreement.

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 Prince Edward Island 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 Prince Edward Island shall be:

Department of Education and Lifelong Learning
250 Water Street, Suite 101
Summerside PEI C1N 1B6

12.0 General

12.1 This Agreement, including Annexes 1, 2 and 3 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 2, concluded on June 12, 2017.

12.3 This Agreement shall be interpreted according to the laws of Canada and Prince Edward Island.

12.4 No member of the House of Commons or of the Senate of Canada or of the Legislature of Prince Edward Island 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 in Charlottetown this 27 day of July, 2021.

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

Signed on behalf of Prince Edward Island by the Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning in Charlottetown this 27 day of July, 2021.

[Signed by] The Honourable Natalie Jameson, Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning.

Annex 1: Workforce funding

In this section

Early childhood workforce funding for fiscal year 2021 to 2022

Whereas, Canada and Prince Edward Island agree that the early childhood workforce is integral to providing high-quality ELCC.

Whereas, The Multilateral ELCC Framework is based on 5 key principles, one of which is ensuring ELCC systems are of high quality.

Whereas, The Multilateral ELCC Framework recognizes the importance of qualifications and training for the early childhood workforce as part of a high quality ELCC system.

Now therefore, the Parties agree as follows.

1.0 Purpose

1.1 Canada and Prince Edward Island agree that in fiscal year 2021 to 2022, a one-time financial support from Canada to Prince Edward Island will be used to support the recruitment and retention of the early childhood workforce.

2.0 Area of focus

2.1 Prince Edward Island agrees to utilize funding in licensed/regulated settings to support the attraction and retention of a qualified workforce, including through training, professional development, wages, bursary programs, tuition support and grants.

2.2 For greater clarity, activities that may support the objective of attracting and retaining a qualified workforce include but are not limited to: providing employment and training supports, lowering the cost of education for those seeking their early childhood educator degree/certificate, supporting the workforce in providing quality ELCC, and improving the ability to provide support to families more in need, including lower-income families; Indigenous families; lone-parent families; families with children with disabilities; Black and racialized children; families from Official Language Minority Communities; 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 programs and services in the children's official language.

3.0 Financial provisions

3.1 In fiscal year 2021 to 2022, to be paid concurrently with the contribution provided under section 4.2.3 of the Agreement, Canada has designated the following maximum amount 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:

  1. $420,000,000 for the fiscal year beginning on April 1, 2021

3.2 The final amount to be paid to Prince Edward Island is determined by the formula F x K/L:

  • where F is the total funding amount transferred to provinces and territories minus the base funding
  • K is the population of children aged 0 to 12 in Prince Edward Island in fiscal year 2021 to 2022, as determined using population estimates from Statistics Canada
  • L is the total population of children aged 0 to 12 in Canada in fiscal year 2021 to 2022, as determined using population estimates from Statistics Canada

3.3 Subject to adjustment based on the formula described in section 3.2, Prince Edward Island’s estimated share of the amount described in section 3.1 (a) will be:

Table 2: Prince Edward Island’s estimated projected share of financial provisions
Fiscal year Estimated amount to be paid to Prince Edward Island (subject to adjustment)
2021 to 2022 $3,570,968

For the purposes of the formula in section 3.2, the population of children aged 0 to 12 in Prince Edward Island for the 2021 to 2022 fiscal year and the 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 quarterly 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.

3.4 Sections 4.6.1 to 4.6.4 of the Agreement, respecting carry forward, apply to funds provided under this annex.

4.0 Accountability

4.1 Action plan

4.1.1 In addition to the requirements outlined in the Agreement under section 5.1, for fiscal year 2021 to 2022, Prince Edward Island agrees to include the following additional information in the Action Plan for that fiscal year:

  1. specific priority areas for investment and objectives in supporting the recruitment and retention of the early childhood workforce in Prince Edward Island
  2. demonstrate that federal investments will be incremental, and will not displace existing Prince Edward Island spending in support of the early childhood workforce
  3. indicators that will be reported on according to Prince Edward Island’s planned investments in the workforce
  4. specific targets for each indicator that will be reported on according to Prince Edward Island’s planned investments

4.2 Reporting

4.2.1 In addition to the requirements outlined in the Agreement under section 5.2, for fiscal year 2021 to 2022, Prince Edward Island agrees to:

  1. report to the people of Prince Edward Island and to Canada on the results and expenditures to support the recruitment and retention of the early childhood workforce. The report shall show separately the results attributable to the funding provided by Canada under this Annex
  2. provide to Canada additional information in the annual report for that year that shall show separately the results attributable to the funding provided by Canada under this Annex and shall include:
    1. a description of the activities, expenditures and results of Annex 1 of the Agreement as set out in Annex 3
    2. results achieved according to the indicators and targets referred to in Annex 3
    3. the number of early childhood workforce staff (current and/or planned) supported by federal funding provided under this Annex including a description of how they were supported
    4. a description of the increase in recruitment and/or retention of the early childhood workforce in fiscal year 2021 to 2022
  3. provide to Canada an audited financial statement of revenues received from Canada under this Annex in fiscal year 2021 to 2022:
    1. the revenue section of the statement shall show the amount received from Canada under this Annex in fiscal year 2021 to 2022
    2. the total expenditures under this Annex in fiscal year 2021 to 2022
    3. if applicable, the amount of any surplus funds that are to be repaid to Canada under section 4.7 of the Agreement

The financial statement shall be prepared in accordance with Canadian Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and the audit shall be performed by the Prince Edward Island Auditor General or his/her delegate, or by an independent public accounting firm registered under the laws of Prince Edward Island and shall be conducted in accordance with Canadian Generally Accepted Auditing Standards.

Annex 2: 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 3: Prince Edward Island’s Canada-wide fiscal year 2021 to 2022 to fiscal year 2022 to 2023 action plan

In this section

Federal vision

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 continue to work with provincial, territorial, and Indigenous partners, on key components of the Canada-wide system which include:

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

The Government of Prince Edward Island (PEI) will collaborate with the Government of Canada to help achieve this vision to meet the needs of the Prince Edward Island’s citizens in a manner that recognizes the Province’s particular context for early learning and child care.

Overview of existing early learning and child care in Prince Edward Island

In 2010 the Government of Prince Edward Island introduced a comprehensive plan for early childhood education laying the foundation for PEI’s early learning and child care system. Building upon the recommendations of The Early Years Report Early Learning in PEI: An Investment in the Island’s Future (Flanagan 2010). PEI’s vision of high quality, affordable, accessible early learning and child care was put into motion. In 2017, as a result of the Early Learning and Child Care Multilateral Agreement, Canada and PEI combined efforts toward an early learning and child care system that is of high quality, affordable, flexible, and inclusive for children and their families.

“There can be nothing more important than providing the best possible opportunities for our children. Prince Edward Island’s unique Early Learning and Child Care system is well established and strong. Grounded in what’s best for the child and their family PEI has a home grown system that is responsive to children, families and communities. We will continue to strengthen our system by ensuring it is even more affordable, accessible, flexible, and of the highest quality. I look forward to continuing to work together with Island families, communities, the early childhood sector, and the Government of Canada to make this happen.”

Hon. Natalie Jameson, Education and Lifelong Learning

The Province of Prince Edward Island currently invests $31,385,010 and $3,568,090 through the Early Learning and Child Care Bilateral Agreement (2017) for a total of $34,953,100 annually to the ongoing development of a high quality early learning and child care system. The education, care and wellbeing of PEI’s youngest children is paramount to a successful and viable Island community, now and into the future.

PEI’s pathways to early learning and child care

In PEI, parents have the choice of licensed or unlicensed child care options. There are 4 types of licensed early childhood centres:

  1. early childhood centres: deliver services primarily to children from birth to school entry
  2. pre-kindergarten centres: provide half day service for 3 and 4 year old children
  3. family home centres: provide care for up to 8 children in their home
  4. school age centres: provide care for before and after school for children from 5 to 10 years of age

See Appendix A for additional background information on PEI’s Early Learning and Child Care context.

PEI’S existing child care subsidy program

PEI’s Child Care Subsidy Program assists Islanders with the cost of child care services. Currently, eligibility assistance is available for low and moderate income Islanders who are working, attending school, or are at home - depending on the families situation and income level. The program is flexible and offers a range of options for supports. Families could be approved for a full subsidy or a partial subsidy depending on the outcome of the needs assessment.

PEI’S publicly managed system of Early Years Centres: a cohesive evidence-based approach to ensuring quality

In Prince Edward Island the ELCC publicly managed system is delivered through designated Early Years Centres (EYCs). When EYCs were introduced in 2010 licensed early childhood centres were given the opportunity to transition to a designated EYC, remain undesignated or take a one-time only grant and close.

At the same time PEI was making the transition to a publicly managed system of EYCs, the province was looking to expand licensed family child care options. PEI offered grants to unlicensed centres to license. While there was some interest, this effort did not see growth in licensed family home centres. There was significant uptake from early childhood centres to transition to a designated EYC.

At that time 40 early childhood centres made the transition to a designated EYC. Currently there are 54 EYCs. The Province will be designating up to 8 more EYCs in the fall of 2021. As of July 2021 there are 27 non-designated early childhood centres and 10 preschool centres in PEI.

Early Years Centre criteria

Early Years Centres are required to meet and maintain a higher level of quality centre by adhering to stringent criteria (see Appendix B for additional information on EYC Criteria). In return for entering into a contract with the province to meet the stringent criteria, EYCs are provided an operational grant that ensures their viability. PEI’s approach of publicly managed EYCs mirrors the components of a public system; capped fees, wage grid, quality measures and ongoing improvement, curriculum implementation, inclusion practices, expected deliverables, all trained staff, monitoring and accountability.

Building on the successes of the unique approach implemented in PEI and with support from the federal government under the Canada-wide agreement the province plans to continue the designation of Early Years Centres including a designation for Family Home Centres and Pre-Kindergarten Centres. This will result in the expansion of the comprehensive publicly managed system with provincial oversight and builds on the objectives of the Canada-wide system.

Pre-kindergarten

Pre-kindergarten is a program for 4 year olds and is a component of the early learning and child care system. Beginning in September 2021 PEI will introduce a publicly funded pre-kindergarten program. The core program of 15 hours a week will be funded by the province and delivered in early childhood centres. The pre-kindergarten programs will follow the provincial early learning and child care curriculum document, is play based and will operate from September to June annually. Parents are encouraged to register on the Early Learning and Child Care Registry.

Supporting PEI’s ELCC workforce – another gauge of quality

While it is difficult to land on one single definition of quality early learning and child care, there are several elements that would support positive outcomes for children and highly qualified early childhood educators (ECEs) would be a foundational indicator. The early childhood educator is the professional relied upon to ensure an environment that fosters a child’s holistic development, monitors a child’s progress, documents the child’s experiences, supports and engages with families, and provides guidance to other professional bodies to enhance outcomes for a child or children. Early childhood educators provide comfort in chaos, are experts in using play as a tool for learning, create learning environments that inspire a curiosity and a lifelong love for learning, and supports children to develop important life skills. An early childhood professional remains current in their profession through ongoing professional development or post-secondary education, is a member of a professional organization and advances the importance of early childhood education every day on the job.

Early childhood educators bring a specialized bank of knowledge to their work with children. They apply this knowledge by creating inclusive programming that builds on each child’s unique abilities, while also recognizing and celebrating the culture and diversity across their programs and community. The work of early childhood educators does not stop with the children, ECEs invest in the entire family. They support families to be the best they can be through means such as connecting them with others in their community, sharing resources and child development information, or just being there for families as they maneuver the nuances of parenting.

The fiscal year 2021 to 2022 Government of Canada’s historic investment into the Early Learning and Child Care Workforce provides an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen a professional pathway that will attract and retain early childhood educators.

The initiatives associated within one-time workforce funding and onto Canada-wide funding are inspired by the dedication, passion and practice of the PEI’s Early Learning and Child Care workforce and the dedicated efforts and consistent voice of the Early Childhood Development Association (ECDA) of PEI. The Province of PEI looks forward to continuing to build on the recommendations of the PEI Workforce Strategy (Flanagan 2019) and these partnerships to create a strong and thriving workforce as we continue to strengthen PEI’s Early Learning and Child Care System. As the PEI ELCC system expands, so too will the workforce. The approach to recognize educators and the intention to strengthen this workforce will include short, medium and long-term strategies.

In partnership with the ECDA and the early childhood workforce, PEI has succeeded in advancing the early learning and child care system to one that is recognized as an early leader. The early childhood workforce in PEI has grown and advanced the awareness of the early years and the importance of a well-educated, well paid workforce as a cornerstone of quality. This effort supported the growth of PEI’s publicly managed early childhood system.

In addition to the requirement for EYCs to meet specific criteria related to workforce/quality, including the requirement for all staff to have a level of certification and adhering to a uniform wage grid and benefits, PEI has taken further steps to support its ECE workforce. Funding provided under the Early Learning and Child Care Bilateral Agreement (2017) resulted in education and training grants being provided to 170 early childhood educators for a total of $366,473 spent since 2017.

A landmark opportunity for early childhood educators is the ability for individuals with certification at the Entry Level to move seamlessly through the certification levels with credit from one education level to the next. This means an individual can begin with 3 entry-level post-secondary courses and move through to undergraduate and graduate level degrees. Significant investments from 2017 to 2021 in education for staff have been ongoing with over 700 training grants provided to early childhood educators to increase their education and certification levels.

‘You Bet We Still Care’ survey

The You Bet We Still Care (2012), a Canada wide survey on ELCC human resource issues, noted: “Solving recruitment and retention problems in child care requires a comprehensive, multi-pronged approach that must take into account and simultaneously address: 1) the need to moderate the stress in the job; 2) compensation (wages, benefits and working conditions); 3) the accessibility of Ecce training and 4) the current low level of public respect for the job.

Supporting PEI’S diversity and inclusion

The Province of Prince Edward Island recognizes and celebrates the diversity within families and communities and the multiple ways in which children learn. There is a culture of inclusion within the programs and policies offered by the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning. For example, the Special Needs Funding program provides funding to hire an individual staff who is responsible for the seamless inclusion of a child or children with special needs within the early childhood centre and Early Years Centre designation has been provided to both provincially licensed early childhood centres with the First Nations communities in PEI. The same practices and principles of inclusion are applied regardless of the recipient. PEI commits to building on this way of working and collaborate with low income, Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities, newcomers to Canada, official language minorities and underserved populations to ensure an equal voice and perspective is a part of the work going forward.

Within Early Years Centres the early childhood educators are provided with the tools and supports to examine and reflect on their philosophical approaches to early childhood education. Working closely with the Early Childhood Resource team within the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning educators are encouraged to adapt the learning environment to build on the children’s abilities and experiences of their particular communities, to the cultures and traditions of the families of the children in their programs, and to be inclusive of all children and staff.

The seamless inclusion of all children, including those children who have special needs, and children who are more vulnerable, is embedded in early learning and child care practice and policy in PEI. As a result of support provided under the Canada PEI Bilateral Agreement (2017) PEI has expanded support to children including:

Supports for children with disabilities

  • Increased support to children with special needs by enhancing access through the special needs funding program which enables the centre Director to hire a staff to assist the successful inclusion of the child
  • Increased support to the Intensive Behavioural Intervention program for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

This resulted in approximately 170 children per year with the ability to attend an early childhood centre and approximately 85 children per year with Autism Spectrum Disorder who had access to the Intensive Behavioural Intervention program.

Supports for children who are more vulnerable

  • Provided a program, Handle with Care, aimed at supporting the overall mental wellness for children and their families

This resulted in 128 early childhood educators trained as facilitators of the program. There were 770 participants within sessions provided by the facilitators with an overall impact for approximately 2712 children.

Children of newcomers to Canada

  • Supported children in newcomer families within early childhood centres by providing translated material, culturally appropriate guidelines, developing interpretation materials and providing cultural sensitivity training

This resulted in 55 early childhood centres who participated in the training and were provided resources to support the children of newcomer to Canada families within their early childhood centres.

Supports for official language minorities

  • Supported Francophone Early Learning and Child Care by providing Acadian and Francophone families with newborn children a home visiting program aimed at Francization

This resulted in 79 families of newborn children being provided with the tools and resources to support French language development and acquisition.

Diversity in the workforce

  • Supported PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada to lead diversity and inclusion themed workshops in both official languages for EYC directors and educators in 2020 and the broader sector in 2021
  • The Total Smarts Early Years Music Initiative is an innovative music education program for young children in Early Years Centres
  • The musical instruments were produced by PEI based artisans reflecting various aspects of First Nations, traditional Maritime and newcomer musical traditions

This resulted in 193 early childhood educators participating in diversity and inclusion themed professional development and 122 early childhood educators participating in the music education program.

Minister’s Early Years Advisory Committee

The Minister’s Early Years Advisory Committee will continue to be PEI’s primary source of consultation and input into the future direction of early learning and child care for children in the province. The previous recommendations made by the advisory committee are consistent with the principles of the Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care System of affordability, accessibility, inclusion and of high quality and will directly inform the action plan for the new bilateral agreement for the Canada-wide ELCC system.

As we move towards system expansion, a new consultation process will begin as the action plan is being developed. This will include internal discussions with partner departments and with the advisory committee itself.

See Appendix C for a summary of what has been achieved in Prince Edward Island’s Early Learning and Child Care System.

Minister’s Early Years Advisory Committee recommendations

The committee recommended a focus in the following 4 areas:

  1. availability, affordability and sustainability
  2. quality-early childhood pedagogy and human resource development
  3. governance, infrastructure and accountability
  4. parent support and public education. This work will need to be supported by an overall strategy for data collection/analysis and research and evaluation

Prince Edward Island’s transition into a Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care System

As we move forward toward a Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care System the province of PEI is well positioned with our publicly managed system and will continue to focus in areas important to all involved with the child at the center of the policies and decisions made. Funding provided under the Canada-wide Agreement does not displace, but rather enhances, goals and targets made possible under the Canada-PEI Early Learning and Child Care Agreement.

A vision for Island children

“Children in Prince Edward Island are healthy and happy, curious and creative, playful and joyous. They are loved and respected, and are safe and secure in their families, homes and communities. Children are our collective responsibility. They are valued for who they are today, and as the future parents and leaders of tomorrow”

Early Years Report 2010

Prince Edward Island has established an early learning and child care system that is of high quality, accessible and sustainable. With financial supports from the Government of Canada, under the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, PEI has been successful in addressing affordability, accessibility, quality and inclusivity through the ongoing growth of our ELCC system. This has been achieved by supporting more families to access child care subsidy, addressing child care deserts through the expansion of existing EYCs or the designation of new EYCs, investing in children who are more vulnerable, providing support to underserved populations, ensuring training opportunities for the workforce and increased wages for ECE’s.

Building on PEI’s ELCC system development and quality improvement

PEI’s has focused on improving multiple aspects of the early learning and child care services currently offered through the publicly managed system of Early Years Centres by:

Ensuring affordability

  • Capped fees for parents and increased access to the current child care subsidy program by removing criteria that the parent needed to be at work or school, and focused and ensuring the maximum child care subsidy rates match the daily provincial rate in EYCs

Increasing access

  • Child care deserts are identified by data collected through the Early Learning and Child Care Registry. The Department of Education and Lifelong Learning responds to the child care deserts by inviting applications for EYCs to expand or for licensed early childhood centres to become designated. Expansion of spaces under the publicly managed system only when there is a child care desert identified and confirmed
    • this is then done by issuing an invitation to apply to expand EYC spaces. The applicants then complete a rigorous and demanding application process, including onsite observations, review of the centres ability to meet each of the EYC criteria with an independent subcommittee of the Minister’s Advisory Committee making recommendations as to which centre meets the criteria and/or at what stage the early childhood centre would be in the process of meeting EYC criteria
  • Provision of early learning and child care that is flexible and responds to the families who work seasonally and non-standard hours. PEI worked with EYCs to provide flexible service, expand hours and open weekends, increase infant spaces, increase preschool spaces to accommodate projected growth as a result of the publicly managed pre-kindergarten program coming in September 2021, and at home child care providers to license as Family Home Centres

Supporting inclusion

  • Supports for children with exceptional needs through the special needs program and Intensive Behavioural Intervention program
  • Supports for Acadian and Francophone families with newborn children
  • The provision of ELCC for children who are more vulnerable or are in underserved communities – PEI worked with EYCs to support children of families of newcomers to Canada by removing financial barriers through child care subsidy, provided training for families and educators to support the child’s mental well-being

Enhancing quality

  • On-going professional development and in-service focused on the curriculum
  • Ensuring children are receiving a pedagogically sound program
  • Authentic assessment practices of the children’s progress
  • Post-secondary options for early childhood educators
  • Requirements for every EYC to have on-going action plans to improve their services
  • Mandated wage grid for the EYC workforce
  • Expansion of spaces under the publicly managed system is by invitation only when there is a child care desert identified and confirmed
  • Oversight and rigor required to ensure the criteria to hold a designation as an Early Years Centre is maintained
  • Removal of designation should the criteria not be met as determined by the province

Under the Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care agreement PEI commits to utilizing funding to expand and improve upon the high quality, flexible, publicly managed system and will focus this action plan on: improving affordability, increasing access, supporting inclusive early learning and child care and exploring options to expand not-for-profit early learning and child care.

While the Province has made significant gains in early learning and child care, ongoing efforts are required to ensure continued advancements in the quality, accessibility, affordability, flexibility and inclusivity of the early learning and child care system in PEI. While sustaining what has been established, focus has turned to what the next areas of concentration should be for children in the province.

What Prince Edward Island will strive to do

For our children

  • Provide high quality early learning opportunities
  • Stimulate and support the development of the whole child
  • Enhance a love of learning
  • Provide for play-based activities
  • Ensure a well-educated and caring staff
  • Be inclusive of all children

For our parents

  • Give parents a voice through the creation of Parents' Advisory Committees
  • Regulate and lower parent fees
  • Provide new and expanded spaces
  • Maintain access to licensed Early learning and child care programs across the province
  • Ensure quality early learning opportunities for their children

For our educators

  • Increase professional recognition
  • Increase wages
  • Provide education and professional development support
  • Provide ongoing pedagogical support

For our Early Years Centre operators

  • Ensure long term quality and sustainability
  • Address human resource issues and concerns
  • Provide training and professional development

Prince Edward Island’s priorities and investments under the Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care system

As Canada and Prince Edward Island move forward together PEI commits to increasing access to high quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive early learning and child care spaces for families from across PEI.

With funding made possible under the Canada-wide agreement PEI will grow the ELCC system by increasing the number of spaces within EYCs, designating additional EYCs and increasing the number of licensed Family Home Centres. This is intended to meet the needs of Island families and the commitment to ongoing development of a high quality, affordable, accessible, flexible and inclusive early learning and child care system.

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

PEI’s priority areas of focus under this 2-year action plan are as follows.

Priority 1: Improving affordability – fiscal year 2021 to 2022 ($1,996,000) and fiscal year 2022 to 2023 ($9,566,000)

Table 3: Projected capped parent fees within Early Years Centres
Children Daily rates January 2022
daily rates
October 2022
daily rates
December 2022
average daily rates1
0 to 22 months $34 per day $25 per day $20 per day $15 per day
22 months to 3 years $28 per day $25 per day $20 per day $15 per day
3 years to kindergarten entry $27 per day $25 per day $20 per day $15 per day

1 This average 50% fee reduction will be achieved through the combination of a reduction in overall capped fees, the expansion to the child care subsidy program, and the introduction of the universal, publicly funded pre-kindergarten program.

PEI will work to make child care more affordable by significantly reducing parent fees, for children aged 0 to school entry age, in licensed early learning and child care spaces. Set out in PEI’s action plan, parent fees will decrease to $25 per day by December 2021, reduce further by an average of 50% (from 2019 levels) by the end of calendar year 2022, and to decrease to an average of $10 per day by the end of fiscal year 2025 to 2026. The average parent fee of $10 per day will be further reduced for low-income-families. This average 50% fee reduction will be achieved through the combination of a reduction in overall capped fees, the expansion to the child care subsidy program, and the introduction of the universal, publicly funded pre-kindergarten program.

The provision of licensed Family Home Child Care will remain an important aspect of child care as we continue to build our system. Through this funding, a Family Home Child Care Grant will be provided to 21 new licensed family home centres over 2 years. This will increase space for approximately 126 additional children.

PEI recognizes the transition process to being granted an Early Years Designation requires support and coaching to meet the criteria associated to gaining designation. As a result, between 2021 and 2023, PEI will provide Bridge funding to 21 licensed early childhood centres to support their successful transition. In addition, PEI will grant 12 more licensed centres Early Years Centre Designation.

Targets

Fiscal year 2021 to 2022:

  • parent fees in Prince Edward Island will be reduced on average to $25/day for families accessing EYCs and Family Home Centres
  • by October 2022, parent fees will be reduced on average to $20/day in EYCs and Family Home Centres

Fiscal year 2022 to 2023:

  • 21 new Family Home Centres will be licensed, increasing space for an additional 126 children
  • 21 licensed early childhood centres will receive bridge funding to support their successful transition to EYC
  • by December 2022, parent fees will be reduced on average to $15/day in EYCs and Family Home Centres

PEI is on track to meet the Federal target of an average of $10 per day by the end of 2024.

Priority 2: Increasing access – fiscal year 2021 to 2022 ($943,000) and fiscal year 2022 to 2023 ($1,595,000)

Prince Edward Island will increase the net number of licensed spaces for children age to school entry to a coverage rate of at least 59% full-time equivalent spaces by the end of fiscal year 2025 to 2026. These spaces will be created predominantly in not-for-profit, public early learning and child care providers/operations, as well as in family home child care.

Table 4: Current total number of spaces (4050 / Full-time equivalent (FTE): 3968) as of July 15, 2021
Designated early years centre Non-designated Preschool Family home centre
2700 FTE 1159 FTE 164 part time (PT)
82 FTE
27 FTE

Table 5: Anticipated growth
Fiscal year Designated early years centre Non-designated Preschool Family home centre
2021 to 2022 70 FTE

77 FTE

(30 new early childhood centre)

(3 new infant spaces in early childhood centre / 44 pre-kindergarten spaces)

97.5 FTE
195 PT
36 FTE
2022 to 2023 50 FTE 0 31.5 FTE
63 PT
90 FTE

In fiscal year 2021 to 2022, PEI will aim to increase spaces for children aged 0 to 4 (full time equivalent) by 280.5 and in fiscal year 2022 to 2023, by 171.5.

This growth will be influenced by consultations, public planning on space creation and working with child care providers on realistic timelines for establishing the spaces. The Implementation Table would provide a venue for discussing whether there are delays due to construction, applications processes or other unforeseen circumstances.

PEI would see this growth, should current centres intending to increase space, be successful with completion of renovations. Final increases in capacity are dependent on inspections by provincial inspectors. For ages 0 to 4, targeted growth based on the projections above would be to 59% coverage in year 1, and to 61% coverage in year 2.

PEI will also increase the capacity in the Early Years Autism program for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, thereby creating space for an additional 15 children in year 1 and maintain this commitment into year 2.

In fiscal year 2022 to 2023, PEI will engage in consultations with Alternate Hour Demonstration EYCs to explore solutions to the delivery of alternate hour care, to serve children whose parents work non-standard and/or seasonal hours.

In fiscal year 2022 to 2023, based on information from PEI’s Early Learning and Child Care Registry, and ongoing public planning strategies and other data collection, PEI will expand space within select Early Years Centres in areas identified as child care deserts to create up to 160 new spaces.

Targets

Fiscal year 2021 to 2022 PEI will aim to increase spaces by:

  • 70 spaces in EYCs
  • 77 spaces - including 6 new infant spaces, 27 spaces for 2 to 4 year olds, and 44 pre-kindergarten spaces
  • 97.5 preschool spaces
  • 36 spaces in Family Home Centres

It is anticipated that by the end of 2022, PEI will:

  • license 6 new Family Home Centres
  • oncrease capacity in the Early Years Autism program (Intensive Behavioural Intervention) – providing support for an additional 15 children

Fiscal year 2022 to 2023, PEI will aim to increase spaces by:

  • 50 spaces in EYCs
  • 31.5 preschool spaces
  • 90 spaces in Family Home Centres

It is anticipated that by the end of 2023, PEI will:

  • license 15 new family home centres
  • maintain capacity in the Early Years Autism program (Intensive Behavioural Intervention)
  • consult with Alternate Hour Demonstration EYCs to expand to serve children whose parents work non-standard and/or seasonal hours
  • based on population numbers provided by Statistics Canada (2020) PEI is on track to exceed the Federal target of 59% access for ages 0 to 5 by the end of 2023

While the accessibility target listed above are specific to the first 2 years of this agreement, PEI will continue to respond to families’ needs for access to early learning and child care and increase access past 2023.

Priority 3: Supporting inclusive early learning and child care – fiscal year 2021 to 2022 ($425,000) and fiscal year 2022 to 2023 ($535,000)

PEI’s early learning and child care system is growing in diversity both from a system workforce perspective, and the children and families participating in ELCC programs. This funding will allow for an English/French as a Second Language Coach to work with EYCs to support inclusive practices, celebrate PEI’s growing diversity, and support educators, children, and their families, to actively engage within their centre and their community.

PEI will also develop resources such as an Early Learning Framework Companion Document designed to reflect low income, children with disabilities, Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities, newcomers to Canada, official language minorities, and underserved populations attending and working within EYCs.

PEI will hire 2 Inclusion Coordinators to work within the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning as staff members of the Early Childhood Resource Team. This will proportionally increase the children benefiting from resources and programs designed to serve low income, Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities, newcomers to Canada, official language minorities, and underserved populations.

By the end of fiscal year 2025 to 2026, all children with disabilities, children living in low income; Indigenous children; Black and other racialized children; children of newcomers to Canada, and official language minorities– no matter where in the province they require child care – should have access to licensed early learning and child care, should their families desire access.

PEI rural centres often struggle with hiring certified ECEs. In an effort to equalize rural centres access to certified early childhood educators, this funding will provide support for those travelling more than 24 kilometres to work in eligible centres.

PEI will develop a collaborative plan with Indigenous organizations in Prince Edward Island to ensure that Indigenous children residing in Prince Edward Island will have access to affordable, high-quality and culturally appropriate ELCC.

Federal funding will also be used to develop and fund a plan to ensure that children have equitable access to regulated child care spaces, in proportion to their presence in Prince Edward Island’s population. This will include, but not limited to: children with disabilities, children living in low income, Indigenous children, Black and other racialized children, children of newcomers to Canada, and official language minorities. The plan will propose policy changes or additional program supports to ensure Prince Edward Island’s child care system is welcoming and inclusive of all children.

Targets

Fiscal year 2021 to 2022:

  • develop an inclusion plan that will aim to enhance inclusion of all children with disabilities and children needing enhanced or individual supports to ensure access to early learning and child care services in proportion to their presence in the population. This plan will complement a broader plan that will also aim to ensure that children who are more vulnerable 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
  • Prince Edward Island will increase the number of children benefiting from the resources and programs being designed to attend to low income, Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities, newcomers to Canada, official language minorities and underserved populations
  • support rural EYCs by providing a travel allowance to 60 early childhood educators traveling more than 24 kilometres to work in eligible centres
  • provide professional development on Truth and Reconciliation cultural awareness training to 450 early childhood educators
  • consult with persons with disabilities, low income, Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities, newcomers to Canada, official language minorities and underserved populations in collaboration with local organizations to develop an inclusion plan which is culturally inclusive for both EYC programming and human resource practices
  • develop an inclusion plan that will aim to enhance inclusion of all children with disabilities and children needing enhanced or individual supports. The plan will also aim to ensure 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

Fiscal year 2022 to 2023:

  • Prince Edward Island will increase the number of children benefiting from the resources and programs being designed to attend to low income, Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities, newcomers to Canada, official language minorities and underserved populations
  • continue to support rural EYCs by providing a travel allowance to 60 early childhood educators traveling more than 24 kilometres to work in eligible centres
  • provide professional development opportunities to build on concepts introduced in fiscal year 2021 to 2022 to 450 early childhood educators
  • implement inclusion plan that will aim to enhance inclusion of all children with disabilities and children needing enhanced or individual supports. The plan will also aim to ensure 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

Priority 4: Increased quality – fiscal year 2021 to 2022 ($5,818,968) and fiscal year 2022 to 2023 ($11,818,000)

Early Childhood Educators are the cornerstone to quality. As a result, much of our quality initiatives are focused recruiting, retaining and supporting the professional growth of the workforce. In the fall of 2021, PEI will provide a one-time retention grant to recognize the years of service of those working in the early learning and child care industry. The grant will be received by approximately 837 workforce participates. PEI is currently undertaking a workforce survey that will provide more details on the demographics across the sector.Over the next 2 years, PEI will introduce wage increases for: Special Needs Asistants, Autism Assistants, Early Childhood Educators. Wages will also be increased for Directors and cooks in EYCs.

PEI will enhance quality and support for the systemby increasing the number of staff working in EYCs. A Return to Early Years grant will be available for eligible early childhood educators returning to work in EYCs. As well, PEI will provide float staff to support educators to engage in professional practices such as documentation, observation, and parent engagement practices.

PEI will review and modernize the Early Learning Framework (ELF) curriculum content to include relevant elements that best represent PEI’s diverse culture. PEI will work with communities and relevant stakeholders to develop resources to support Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities, newcomers to Canada and official language minorities.

PEI will work with local post-secondary institutions to deliver accelerated education opportunities, support the formalizing of Prior Learning Recognition Assessment, and support educators, including Directors, to further their post-secondary education working toward a credential. Post-secondary education training grants will be allocated to early childhood educators including those individuals representing low income, Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities, newcomers to Canada, official language minorities and underserved populations, including persons with disabilities.

PEI will provide additional tools and resources for use in EYCs to enhance their professional practices. PEI will develop a Practicum Tool Kit to support professional development training for educators who work with students in both English and French EYCs.

PEI will provide an Innovative Practice Grant which will provide Directors the opportunity to further explore non-monetary initiatives that will further enhance retention policies and practices within their centre.

PEI will work closely with the workforce and the Early Childhood Development Association (ECDA) of PEI to develop a pension program to roll out in fiscal year 2022 to 2023.

Targets

Fiscal year 2021 to 2022:

  • 837 workforce participants will receive a one-time retention grant
  • 534 workforce participantswill receive a wage increase
  • encourage 10 ECEs to return to the workforce
  • hire 79 float staff to support EYCs
  • provide more than 200 training grants for the ELCC workforce, of which 30 will be prioritized for low income, Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities, newcomers to Canada, official language minorities and underserved populations
  • support post-secondary development and delivery with dedicated seats available to 5 individuals from low income, Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities, newcomers to Canada, official language minorities and underserved populations including persons with disabilities
  • all children attending EYCs will benefit from resources and programs designed to serve low income, Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities, newcomers to Canada, official language minorities and underserved populations
  • practicum toolkit designed to support early childhood workforce
  • up to 45 centres to receive the Innovative Practice Grant
  • increase the ECDA of PEI’s operating grant by $40,000 annually

Fiscal year 2022 to 2023:

  • develop a pension program for early childhood workforce
  • provide additional wage increase to the ELCC workforce
  • encourage an additional 10 ECEs to return back to the workforce
  • maintain float staff to support EYCs
  • provide more than 200 training grants for the ELCC workforce, of which 30 will be prioritized for low income, Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities, newcomers to Canada, official language minorities and underserved populations
  • provide training grants for up to 52 Directors of EYCs
  • support post-secondary development and delivery of ECE credential with dedicated seats made available to 5 individuals from low income, Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities, newcomers to Canada, official language minorities and underserved populations including persons with disabilities
  • practicum toolkit introduction to support early childhood workforce. A minimum of 24 students will benefit from enhanced mentorship
  • maintain ECDA operating increase

Priority 5: Administration – fiscal year 2021 to 2022 ($740,000) and fiscal year 2022 to 2023 ($1,155,000)

To support the successful implementation of the Canada-wide ELCC system, PEI will hire a team to support expansion and implementation of programs, as well as additional contract staff for short-term periods to complete special projects. In addition, PEI will develop a communication strategy which supports the Canada-wide ELCC system and the workforce.

Targets

Fiscal year 2021 to 2022:

  • hire approximately 12 FTE
  • develop a communication strategy
  • fund special projects identified under sections 5A and 5B

Fiscal year 2022 to 2023:

  • maintain approximately 12 FTE
  • deliver a communication strategy
  • fund special projects identified under sections 5A and 5B

Priority 5A: ongoing commitment to a publicly-managed system with prioritization of not-for-profit care

Prince Edward Island is committed to enhancing its publically-managed system and to prioritizing not-for-profit care. As such, Prince Edward Island is committed to exploring options for expansion of the not-for-profit component of the publicly managed system. The province will contract for a study aimed at understanding the complexity and limitations for expansion of the not-for-profit sector to better understand the support required to become designated as an Early Years Centre under the provincial publicly managed system.

Targets

Fiscal year 2021 to 2022:

  • PEI will conduct a research study to deeply examine the current system and potential growth of spaces, while identifying barriers and possible strategies to engage public and not-for-profit participation options with the publicly managed system

Fiscal year 2022 to 2023:

  • review recommendations from the research study and develop a provincial response

Priority 5B: data collection and reporting

Current data system collection

  • The Early Years Report Early Learning in PEI: An Investment in the Island’s Future (2010)
  • Early Learning and Child Care Registry –provides data for spaces by age group and geography
  • PEI Workforce Strategy (2019)
  • Improved existing Department of Education and Lifelong Learning ELCC Database capacities
  • Developed and implemented surveys to collect administrative data including number and type of space, centres ability to expand and workforce needs
  • Undergoing review of current Special Needs Funding program to ensure optimal impact for children
  • Education and Lifelong Learning Annual Reports

PEI will commit to providing the available data required to monitor the progress under this agreement and will share and release data as available to further support the development of and reporting on the outcomes of this agreement. PEI will work with the federal government to establish an Implementation Committee who will monitor the general progress of the actions identified under this agreement. PEI will develop an action plan aimed at exploring the data collection needs specific to this agreement and beyond.

Targets

Fiscal year 2021 to 2022:

  • identify gaps in data collection sets
  • develop a request for proposals

Fiscal year 2022 to 2023:

  • develop and implement a data collection system to enable reliable data collection and census of the workforce

See Appendix D for Prince Edward Island’s complete tables on current total number of spaces, anticipated growth, and the CWELCC principle target tables.

Canada and Prince Edward Island are confident that by working together for children and families through the creation of a Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care System that monumental gains will be achieved for generations to come.

“Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.”

John F. Kennedy

Appendix A: Background information on the PEI ELCC context

Currently, there are approximately 7199 Island children from birth to age 4 (Statistics Canada, July 2020). There are 4050 licensed spaces which provides coverage for approximately 56% (May 2021) of children across the province. Presently, the remaining children are cared for at home, or are in unregulated care. In 2010, Prince Edward Island had more than twice the Canadian average regarding the number of licensed early childhood spaces for children from birth to 5 years of age. In 2019 there were licensed spaces for approximately 42% of Island children in this age group. Currently PEI has access for approximately 56% of Island children from birth to age 4 years.

Prior to 2010 kindergarten was a component of the early learning and child care system delivered through licensed early childhood centres. Full-day kindergarten, administered by the public school system, became mandatory for all 5-year-old children in 2010. The early childhood educators teaching kindergarten in the community based system were eligible for the teaching positions in the public school system. This meant that many of the most experienced educators moved from the early childhood sector at that time. In response to this significant change the province implemented a new early learning and child care strategy, “Securing the Future for Our Children: Preschool Excellence Initiative” (PDF format). This initiative was developed based on the 2010 Early Years Report (Flanagan). The Prince Edward Island Preschool Initiative introduced Early Years Centres (EYCs), regulated parent fees, a wage grid which is based on education and experience, post-secondary education for the uncertified staff, a modernized Early Learning and Child Care Act and Regulations, and, sector planning and management support for programs. Implementation of the Preschool Excellence Initiative has stabilized the sector and over the last decade has allowed for the province to establish a robust, publicly managed Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) system which is responsive to children, families and the community.

Appendix B: Early Years Centre criteria

Early Years Centres are required to meet and maintain a higher level of quality than non-designated early childhood Centres. The criteria below defines the expectations placed on all EYCs.

Prior to designation a licensed Early Learning and Child Care Program shall

  • Be in operation and in good standing with the Early Learning and Child Care Board

To maintain Early Years designation an Early Learning and Child Care Program must sustain the following criteria.

Failure to sustain the criteria will result in a review of the Early Years designation.

An Early Years Centre (EYC) shall

Staffing

  • Have all certified staff (with exception of support staff)
    • Certification level:
      • Early Childhood Supervisor (referred to as Director)
      • Early Childhood Educator 3
      • Early Childhood Educator 2
      • Early Childhood Educator 1
  • Defined Roles and Responsibilities (adapted from The Child Care Human Resources Sector Council Occupational Standards for Administrators)
    • Supervisor
      • a portion of the supervisor’s time will be spent out of ratio; the amount of time is dependent on the size of the EYC. The purpose of being out of ratio allows the supervisor to be present to provide leadership and program administration. This includes:
        • pedagogical leadership
        • family and community relations
        • establishing vision and goals
        • data and record keeping
        • regulation, insurance and legal responsibilities
        • design and maintenance of children's environment
        • human resource leadership
        • human resource management
        • financial planning and risk management
        • regular staff meetings
    • Certified staff
      • participate in staff and program evaluations
      • attend and participate in staff meetings
      • provides evidence of planning for and delivery of the daily program and learning environment for children
      • maintains ongoing and effective communication with parents and colleagues
      • maintains own skill and knowledge development
      • maintains an active professional development plan
      • must have operational knowledge of the Early Learning and Child Care Act and Regulations
      • maintains certification
  • All certified staff must be a member of, and participate in, a professional organization, building skills, knowledge, and awareness in the community of the importance of early learning and child care

Children

  • Accept children with exceptional needs and provide an inclusive program for all children:
    • accept infants
    • accept children from various backgrounds without discrimination, including those in receipt of Child Care Subsidy and newcomers to PEI
    • ensure program activities are inclusive and respectful of all children while honouring cultural/linguistic backgrounds

Parents

  • Follow the current regulated parent fees as determined by department
  • Have an operational Parent Advisory Committee. This committee is expected to be provided opportunity, by the supervisor, for active engagement in setting goals for the program, share documentation/information, offer parent sessions, and other functions as defined by the parent committee and supervisor
  • Provide all parents with regular written information and opportunity for formal parent – educator meetings twice a year. Documentation to parents must align with the objectives of the centre action plan and PEI Early Learning Framework

Environment

  • meet all applicable provincial and federal legislation
  • be open year round - exceptions to this can be made through application to the department
  • respond to parent needs
  • have a kitchen
  • have a centre office
  • have a staff room
  • provide appropriate outdoor and indoor learning environments
  • strive for space that is readily accessible for children, parents and staff, such as: limited stairs, wheel chair accessible
  • ensure environments have adequate adult and child storage, shelving units, book cases, locker area, adult size chair and table, computer
  • have a minimum of 5 learning centres which support the program goals and the learning objectives of the PEI Early Learning Framework
  • the learning environment is intended to be defined for both indoor and outdoor experiences

Policies

  • have current program and staff policies
  • provide to parents and department any and all staff and program policies. Such policies will include but are not limited to the following:
    • human resource, hours of operation, late fees, nutrition, discipline, medication, parent expectations, home-centre communication, vacation, closures, safety, providing a healthy environment, illness of staff, illness of child, payment schedule, travel and field trips
  • provide to parents information on how their child is progressing through the program. This will include, but is not limited to, documentation on age appropriate interactions with the other children, environment, learning and developmental objectives

Program

  • be actively engaged with the Early Childhood Resource Team
  • have an evolving Centre Action Plan with a format as determined by the department

General

  • be a licenced early learning and child care program in good standing with the Early Learning and Child Care Board
  • participate in professional development
  • participate in in-service provided by the department
  • participate in research and data collection as defined by the department
  • be in good standing with the Canada Revenue Agency
  • report accurately and in a timely manner all information for funding as requested by the department
  • be in good standing with provincial and federal legislation
  • adhere to policies as provided by the department
  • utilize the PEI Early Learning Framework and any companion documents
  • utilize the Early Learning and Child Care Registry

Appendix C: Prince Edward Island’s Early Learning and Child Care system — What has been achieved

Quality

  • creation of an additional 14 Early Years Centres across the province
  • education opportunities provided for over 170 early childhood educators
  • introduction of a mandatory wage grid in Early Years Centres
  • implementation of an Early learning curriculum framework (infancy to school entry)
  • Parent advisory committees established in Early Years Centres – allows for parent engagement at the centre level
  • increased funding to the Special Needs Program
  • increased funding to the Early Years Autism Program
  • Early Childhood Resource Team to support pedagogy and quality enhancements in Centres
  • creation of the modernized Early Learning and Child Care Act and Regulations

Access (from 2017)

  • increased overall access by 24%
    • infant spaces by over 42%
    • toddler spaces by 69%
    • preschool spaces by 20%
  • introduced publicly funded pre-kindergarten (September 2021)
  • regulated parent fee in Early Years Centres – making Prince Edward Island 1 of only 3 provinces to regulate parent fees – this translated into 40% of families paying less for their child care space
  • Child Care Subsidy Program per-diem matches regulated parent fee – only province to do this

Inclusion and diversity

  • increased participation of children with special needs through inclusion into an early childhood Centre
  • supported children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • provided support for educators and parents to understand and nurture the mental well-being of the children
  • provided support to educators to better support children from newcomer to Canada families
  • provided support to Acadian and Francophone families with newborn babies where 1 or both of the parents do not speak French with resources for introducing the child’s language

Sustainability

  • a funding model for Early Years Centres which is now being studied as a model in other jurisdictions
  • funding to existing (2010) non-designated Early Learning and Child Care Centres was maintained
  • turnover in availability of Centres has stabilized – minimal Centres closing
  • increasing post-secondary options for educators while they remain employed with the EYC

Parental choice

  • Early Years Centres
  • non-designated Early Learning and Child Care Centres
  • unregulated / informal sector

Appendix D: A summary of what Prince Edward Island will strive to provide for its children, parents, educators, and EYC operators

Prince Edward Island is intentional with our focus and goals for our children, parents, educators and the publicly managed EYCs and Family Home Centres.

For our children PEI will strive to:

  • provide high quality early learning opportunities
  • stimulate and support the development of the whole child
  • enhance a love of learning
  • provide for play-based activities
  • ensure a well-educated and caring staff
  • be inclusive of all children

For the parents PEI will strive to:

  • give parents a voice through the creation of Parents' Advisory Committees
  • regulate and lower parent fees
  • provide new and expanded spaces
  • maintain access to licensed Early Learning and Child Care programs across the province
  • ensure quality early learning opportunities for their children

For the educators PEI will strive to:

  • increase professional recognition
  • increase wages
  • provide education and professional development support
  • provide ongoing pedagogical support

For the Early Years Centre operators PEI will strive to:

  • ensure long term quality and sustainability
  • address human resource issues and concerns
  • provide training and professional development

Appendix D continued: indicators and targets for the CWELCC Agreement principles for fiscal year 2021 to 2022 and fiscal year 2022 to 2023

All targets outlined in the priority areas below are subject to change based on upcoming consultations and review, and may be modified over the course of the 2021 to 2026 Canada-wide ELCC Agreement, to better meet the needs of Prince Edward Island families and children. Implementation timelines of these programs may vary.

Table 6: Indicators and targets for the CWELCC Agreement principles for fiscal year 2021 to 2022
Principle Estimated cost Explanation Target
Affordability $1,996,000

Canada-wide ELCC investments

Making ELCC more affordable removes barriers and is critical to increasing participation.

  1. Reducing parent fees January 2022 to $25/day - $550,000
  2. Provide Family Home Grant to 10 Family Home Centres - $75,000
  3. Bridge funding to 13 centres to support and plan transition to publicly managed EYC Model - $741,000
  4. Create 4 EYC Centres - $630,000
  • Reducing parent fees for an approximately 46% of children (approximately 3312). This represents an estimated: $1,320 per 6 month savings for a family with an infant and a 3 year old child. (#1 and #2)
  • Bridging 48% (13) of non-designated centres to support their transition to the EYC Model
  • Supporting 14% (4) of non-designated centres to join the EYC model
Accessibility $943,000

Canada-wide ELCC investments

Work will continue to remove barriers for all children and families regardless of their ability, geography or culture. Expanding publicly managed EYC spaces and licensed family homes must be intentional and well planned.

  1. Capitol grants for new EYC spaces - $675,000
  2. Family Home Centre Licensing Incentive - $18,000
  3. Autism Grant - $250,000
  • PEI will grow the number of spaces available for children 0 to school entry to 59% (increase of 280.5 FTE spaces)
  • PEI will grow the number of licensed Family Home Centres by 150%. These are based on assumption and due to the difficulty licensing Family Home Centres in the past, is based on approximately 6 licenses with an average of 6 children for approximately 36 new spaces (calculated in overall growth target of 59%)
  • PEI will increase capacity in the Early Years Autism program for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder thereby supporting an additional 15 children
Quality $5,818,968

Early Childhood Educators are the cornerstone to quality. As a result, much of our quality initiatives are focused on the recruitment, retention and professional practice of the workforce.

Canada-wide ELCC Investments:

  1. Wage increase - $1,325,000
  2. Float staff for all EYCs - $683,000
    *additional funding in workforce
  3. Retention Grant - $325,000
    *additional funding in workforce

Workforce investments:

  1. Wage increase - $495,000
  2. *Float staff for all EYCs - $181,968
  3. Return to Profession Grant - $50,000
  4. Practicum tool kit - $45,000
  5. Innovative Practices Grant - $90,000
  6. *Retention Grant - $1,905,000
  7. Curriculum framework/companion documents - $47,000
  8. Post-secondary education - $607,000
  • PEI ELCC workforce will receive an adjustment in hourly wage
  • Increase the number of certified early childhood educators in EYCs
  • Provide for approximately 79 support staff
  • PEI will increase the complement of certified ECEs working in this sector by 2.5% (10 educators)
  • 52% of centres will participate in the Innovative Retention Grant program (45 centres)
  • PEI’s licensed ELCC workforce will receive a one-time retention grant. We recently administered a workforce survey which will help to support the details of this grant
  • Increase the certified workforce by 6% (approximately 30) –Post-secondary seats will be made available to 5 individuals employed in the ELCC workforce representing low income, Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities, newcomers to Canada, official language minorities and underserved populations including persons with disabilities. This funding will provide more than 200 training grants to ECE’s furthering their post -secondary education and working toward a credential. A minimum of 30 training grants will be allocated for individuals representing low income, Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities, newcomers to Canada, official language minorities and underserved populations
Inclusivity $425,000

The PEI Early Learning Framework is built on core of ELCC principles of inclusionary practices and delivering programs that celebrate the culture and diversity of all children, families, and those educating in our programs.

Canada wide ELCC investments:

  1. Early Learning Framework curriculum Truth and Reconciliation companion doc and PD training - $100,000
  2. Develop an inclusion plan- with attention to low income, Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities, newcomers to Canada, official language minorities and underserved populations - $125,000
  3. Inclusion Coordinator (2) - $70,000

Workforce investments:

  1. English or French as an Additional Language (EAL/FAL) Coach - $35,000
    Recruitment - $95,000
  • Children benefiting from resources and programs designed to serve low income, Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities, newcomers to Canada, official language minorities and underserved populations (approximately 380 children); training opportunities offered to early childhood educators in EYCs (approximately 450)
  • Consult with low income, Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities, newcomers to Canada, official language minorities and underserved populations represented through PEI’s local organizations to develop an inclusion plan which is culturally inclusive for both programming and human resource practices
  • Provide travel allowance to 30 EYCs/Family Home/Preschool to make available to up to approximately 60 staff in rural EYCs

Workforce funds:

  • an EAL/FAL Coach will proportionately provide support to over 300 families
  • children benefiting from resources and programs designed to serve low income, Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities, newcomers to Canada, official language minorities and underserved populations (approximately 380)
Administration $740,000

Travel and materials - $22,000

Coach - $35,000

Data and reporting coordinator - $40,000

Autism consultant - $40,000

Inspector - $33,000

Resource support (SNA/Autism) - $25,000

Junior evaluation Analyst - $40,000

Finance staff - $50,000

Administration clerk (2) - $50,000

Development of ELCC grant (Subsidy) - $10,000

IT - $150,000

Communication - $100,000

Pathway to Quality research project - $125,000

Planning and development - $40,000

  • Approximately 12 FTEs at the operational level to support expansion and implement programs, plus additional contract staff for short-term periods to complete special projects
  • Data collection system to enable reliable data collection and census of the workforce to support policy planning and decisions and alignment of workforce initiatives with system and space growth
  • Communications that will align with the plan for system and space growth and workforce growth to meet projections
  • Research study to deeply examine the current system and potential growth of spaces while identifying barriers and possible strategies to engage public and not for profit participation within our publicly managed system in PEI

Table 7: Indicators and targets for the CWELCC Agreement principles for fiscal year 2022 to 2023
Principle Estimated cost Explanation Target
Affordability $9,566,000

Making ELCC more affordable removes barriers and is critical to increasing participation.

  1. Reducing parent fees to $25/day January, 2022 - $2,560,000
  2. Reducing parent fees to $20/day in October 2022 - $2,065,000
  3. By December 2022, parent fees will be reduced on average to $15/day in EYCs and Family Home Centres
  4. Provide Family Home Grant to 15 new Family Home Centres - $225,000
  5. Bridge funding to 8 Centres to continue to support and plan transition to publicly managed EYC Model - $306,000
  6. Create 8 EYC centres - $3,780,000
  7. Expand space in EYCs - $630,000
  • Reducing parent fees for est. 54% (approximately 3888) of children (#1 to 3)
  • Further reduction in fees in October 2022 for est. 54% (3888) of children (#1 to 3) – Parent fees will be reduced to $20/day. An average decrease of 50% from 2019 levels is achieved through the combination of a reduction in the overall capped fee to $20/day in the publicly managed system a sliding scale of parent fee grants for eligible parents
  • Bridging 53% (8) of non-designated centres to support their transition to publicly managed EYC Model
  • Supporting 53% (8) of non-designated centres to join the EYC model
  • 160 new EYC spaces primary focus is to address areas identified as Child Care Deserts
Accessibility $1,595,000

Work will continue to remove barriers for all children and families regardless of their ability, geography or culture. Expanding publicly managed EYC spaces and licensed family homes must be intentional and well planned.

  1. Capitol grants for new EYC spaces - $750,000
  2. Family Home Centre Licensing Incentive - $45,000
  3. Special Needs/Autism Grant - $500,000
  4. Supporting alternate hour EYC seats - $300,000
  • PEI will grow the number of spaces available for children 0 to school entry to 61% (171.5 FTE spaces)
  • PEI will grow the number of licensed Family Home Centres by an additional approximately 90 spaces (calculated in overall growth target of 61%)
  • PEI will maintain capacity in the Early Years Autism program for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder thereby maintaining support for 15 children
  • Consult with Alternate Hours Demonstration EYCs to further development the alternate hours program to serve children whose parents work non-standard/seasonal hours
Quality $11,818,000

Early Childhood Educators are the cornerstone to quality. As a result, much of our quality initiatives are focused on the recruitment, retention and professional practice of the workforce.

  1. Float staff for all EYCs - $4,048,000
  2. Directors’ Post-Secondary Education Grants - $130,000
  3. ECDA of PEI core funding - $40,000
  4. Return to Profession Grant - $50,000
  5. Pension Program - $1,200,000
  6. Post-secondary education - $500,000
  7. Wage increases - 5,850,000
  • Maintain float staff
  • Provide post-secondary education grants to approximately 52 directors of EYCs
  • Increase ECDA core funding
  • PEI will increase the complement of certified ECEs working in this sector by an additional 10 educators
  • Currently conducting a survey of the workforce to determine the parameters of this pension program
    Will increase the certified workforce by an additional 6% (30 ) pst-secondary seats will be made available to 5 individuals employed in the ELCC workforce representing the low income, Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities, newcomers to Canada, official language minorities and underserved populations including persons with disabilities
  • This funding will provide more than 200 training grants to ECEs furthering their post -secondary education and working toward a credential. A minimum of 30 training grants will be allocated for individuals representing low income, Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities, newcomers to Canada, official language minorities and underserved populations
  • Additional investments to increase wages for staff employed with EYCs, preschool centres and to Special Needs Assistants and Autism Assistants
Inclusivity $535,000

The PEI Early Learning Framework is built on core ELCC principles of inclusionary practices and delivering programs that celebrate the culture and diversity of all children, families, and those educating in our programs.

  1. English or French as an Additional Language Coach - $70,000
  2. Recruitment - $100,000
  3. Early Learning Framework Curriculum Truth and Reconciliation companion doc and PD training - $100,000
  4. Implement an inclusion plan- with attention to low income, Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities, newcomers to Canada, official language minorities and underserved populations - $125,000
  5. Inclusion coordinator (2) - $140,000
  • Children benefiting from resources and programs designed to serve low income, Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities, newcomers to Canada, official language minorities and underserved populations (approximately 380 children); training opportunities offered to early childhood educators in EYCs (approximately 450)
  • Consult with low income, Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities, newcomers to Canada, official language minorities and underserved populations represented through PEI’s local organizations, to develop an inclusion plan which is culturally inclusive for both programming and human resource practices
  • Increase workforce participation that proportionately represents the diverse populations we are serving. Provide travel allowance to 30 EYCs/Family Home/Preschool to make available to up to 60 new hires
  • Proportional increase of children benefiting from resources and programs designed to serve low income, Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities, newcomers to Canada, official language minorities and underserved populations
Administration $1,155,000

Travel and materials - $44,000

Coach - $70,000

Data and reporting Coordinator - $80,000

Autism consultant - $80,000

Inspector - $66,000

Resource support (SNA/Autism) - $50,000

Junior evaluation analyst - $80,000

Finance staff - $100,000

Administration clerk - (2) $100,000

IT - $250,000

Communication - $40,000

Pathway to Quality research project - $150,000

Planning and development - $40,000

  • Approximately 12 FTEs at the operational level to support expansion and implement programs, plus additional contract staff for short-term periods to complete special projects
  • Data collection system to enable reliable data collection and census of the workforce to support policy planning and decisions and alignment of workforce initiatives with system and space growth
  • Communications that will align with the plan for system and space growth and workforce growth to meet projections
  • Research study to deeply examine the current system and potential growth of spaces while identifying barriers and possible strategies to engage public and not for profit participation in ELCC system in PEI
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