FREDERICTON (GNB) – A new agreement between the provincial and federal governments will provide funding to assist the New Brunswick early learning and child-care sector in implementing COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.

“Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, our government’s vision for a better economic future has not changed,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “The actions we take now will determine the speed and strength of our economic recovery. The early learning and child-care sector plays an important role in helping New Brunswickers return to work, which will, in turn, support businesses and strengthen our neighbourhoods and communities.”

The Safe Restart Agreement will provide $14-million to help operators ensure they have the resources they need to meet the COVID-19 health and safety guidelines while also supporting increased hours of service, which will benefit families.

“Over the past year, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become clear that access to affordable, safe and high-quality child care is important for families, our health-care system and our economy,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy. “Early learning and child-care facilities, operators and educators have played a crucial role in leading New Brunswick through the recovery phase of the pandemic, but they need support to continue their important work.”

Funding from the Safe Restart Agreement will be provided through a monthly grant to licensed early learning and child-care facilities that meet the following terms and conditions:

  • using the funding to offset the cost associated with the impact of COVID-19;
  • ensuring hours of operation meet the needs of parents to support workforce participation;
  • ensuring licensed spaces are made available based on demand; and
  • updating space availability monthly on the department’s Parent Portal.

“The availability of affordable, high-quality and flexible child care will be key to ensuring Canadian parents can return to work and our economy can recover from this crisis,” said federal Families, Children and Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen. “The Government of Canada will continue to work with the Government of New Brunswick to support the child-care sector and ensure all families have access to the quality child care they need.”

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has invested more than $11 million to support families and operators throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Health and Safety Grant which provided operators with $40 per licensed space to meet health and safety guidelines.