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Q&A on Child Care

The Progressive Conservative Party of PEI has promised to “implement an Island-wide community-based preschool program for all four-year-olds.” Per this commitment: 

  • How does your party define community-based?

  • How much will your proposed system cost for Island parents? 

  • Child care centre operators have reported to the ECDA that they cannot expand the number of children they accept due to the difficulty of recruiting and retaining certified Early Childhood Educators. Is the Progressive Conservative Party of PEI committed to implementing a workforce strategy to support your proposed system? 

  • Does your party intend to implement an Early Learning and Child Care Wage Grid with wages in line with PEI Educational Assistants – knowing that the required qualifications are identical yet the wage difference is 19.98%?

  • As of February 2019, there are 867 children currently waiting on PEI’s child care registry as needing a space within one year or less – 572 of whom are infants. How will your party support families desperately seeking licensed infant, toddler, and three-year-old care?


Response

received on April 19, 2019

We have made the commitment that our government will implement an Island-wide community-based preschool program for all four-year-olds. 

We will work with stakeholders to ensure that this program is implemented effectively, efficiently, and to address any concerns that may arise. 

received on April 23, 2019

How does your party define community-based?

We define community-based as programming delivered outside of the school system through our early learning sector. In the context of our proposal around preschool we envision a half day of play based programming for Island four year olds, publicly funded and delivered through our early years centres based in communities across Prince Edward Island.

When publicly funded Kindergarten began in the 1990’s under former Premier Pat Binns it was delivered through a community based model. This was very successful and delivered positive results. Later Kindergarten was added to our schools as full day program and we feel that a half day of play based preschool programming for four year olds, delivered through our early years centres is the next logical step in the evolution of our early learning sector. This will help strengthen our early learning sector and help better prepare students for success in Kindergarten and beyond.

How much will your proposed system cost for Island parents? 

Our vision for preschool for four year olds is that the half day of programming would be publicly funded. We anticipate that this would lead to reduced expenses for parents. 

Is the Progressive Conservative Party of PEI committed to implementing a workforce strategy to support your proposed system? 

An effective workforce strategy that identifies solutions to the barriers of recruiting and retaining a skilled workforce is critical to the stability and vibrancy of the early learning sector. A PC government would commit to working with stakeholders like the ECDA, workers and parents to help craft a workforce strategy that meets our shared goals.

Does your party intend to implement an Early Learning and Child Care Wage Grid with wages in line with PEI Educational Assistants?

When Kindergarten was moved into the school system one of the key issues identified at the time was the need for a Wage Grid that incentivized the retention of skilled workers in the early learning system. Lack of attention to this issue has led to a situation where workers are transitioning to opportunities in the school system due to more competitive wages. Predictability this has created challenges for the early learning sector in both English and French language systems.

The wider this wage gap grows the more difficult it will be to retain skilled workers and attract new ones. A PC government is committed to working with the ECDA and other stakeholders to develop an effective wage grid model to address this issue.

In our platform we are committing to raising the Basic Personal Tax Exemption from $9,000 to $12,000. Additionally we are committing to increasing the income threshold of the Low Income Tax Program from $17,000 to $20,000. Taken together these measures  will allow all workers to keep more of what they earn.

How will your party support families desperately seeking licensed infant, toddler, and three-year-old care?

Access to child care spaces is an ongoing challenge for parents. In our platform we are committing to increasing the number of child care spaces. 

Additionally we are proposing a First 1000 Days Initiative to promote action and investment to improve nutritional health, development and well-being of mothers and children. Having better access to quality child care spaces will provide a stronger platform to do that.

We will use current and future federal/provincial funding agreements on child care and early learning to target improved access to affordable, quality spaces that are flexible to the needs of parents.