FREDERICTON (GNB) – Updates to the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s Parent Portal will allow families to enrol their children in early learning and child-care facilities online, cutting down on paperwork for families and facility operators.

“We have been working to expand the services offered through our Parent Portal to help support both families and operators,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy. “We are pleased to work with early learning and child-care facilities to launch online child enrolment, which we hope will save time for families and our dedicated early learning and child-care providers. This information will also help us in decisions to improve services, child-care subsidies, and programs for early learners.”

Under the Canada-New Brunswick Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, the department is working with operators of designated facilities to reduce the average child-care fees for parents. Information made available through online enrolment will guide decisions on how to do so most effectively.

Under the same agreement, in recognition of the value of early learning, the provincial government committed to increase the hourly wages of early childhood educators in designated early learning centres and homes. Beginning on April 1, the hourly wage of trained early childhood educators will increase to $23.47 from $19; untrained early childhood educators will have their hourly wage increased to $16.90 from $14.90. This includes funding provided to operators to address increases in the minimum wage.

“Every child deserves the best start in life,” said federal Families, Children and Social Development Minister Karina Gould. “Today’s announcement will allow families to spend more quality time with their children and allow early childhood educators to spend more time providing world-class early learning and child care. Supporting the valuable work of early childhood educators is key to the success of a high-quality child-care system.”

The online enrolment process should take under five minutes to complete, and provides consistency and security for users. Parents will be provided with a unique New Brunswick Education Number that will remain the same until a child’s graduation, reducing administrative work throughout their school years.

If families change child-care providers, they will only need to accept an enrolment offer from the new provider since their child’s information will already be in the system.

“Since the inception of the Operator Portal, administrative tasks such as reports and renewals, have become far more streamlined,” said Melissa McCallum, director of Little Geniuses Daycare. “It has created a space where interaction with various government programs can take place and provides helpful components such as funding statements, email notifications, and historical data.”

Information submitted through the portal can only be accessed by the family member who owns the account. Operators of child-care facilities will only have access to the information pertaining to a child’s enrolment offer. This includes the details families and operators have agreed upon, such as a child’s name, the number of days the child will be attending the facility, and the corresponding fees.

Operators will be provided with additional information to support families without an email address or with limited access to the internet.

Families with questions about online child enrolment should call 1-888-762-8600 or e-mail [email protected].