FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government will partner with operators in 24 communities to create 603 designated early learning and child-care spaces.

“We know there is a need for more high-quality, inclusive and affordable early learning and child-care spaces,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Bill Hogan. “Creating new designated spaces will make a difference for New Brunswick families. We look forward to continuing to work with our early learning and child-care sector on efforts to increase access to these critical services.”

The new spaces include 231 for infants (birth to 24 months) and 372 for preschool children (ages 2-5). The breakdown is as follows:

  • francophone spaces for infants: 66
  • francophone spaces for preschool children: 61
  • anglophone spaces for infants: 165
  • anglophone spaces for preschool children: 311

The process was guided by a space allocation grid that identified regions with the greatest needs. Proposals for all types of facilities were considered through this process and were required to include spaces for infants because the need for such spaces was identified as a priority.

Three hundred of the spaces will be created in the not-for-profit sector and 303 will be created in the for-profit sector, within the 24 communities. It is anticipated 397 of these new spaces will be open by September, with an additional 73 open by March 2024.

Including these new spaces, there will be 1,422 new designated early learning and child-care spaces created in the province since September 2021 as part of the Canada-New Brunswick Canada-Wide Early Learning Child Care Agreement 2021-2026.

The provincial government introduced its call for proposals for the creation of designated preschool early learning and child-care spaces in January. Through this process, residents, businesses, community partners and existing early learning and child-care operators were invited to submit proposals to open new designated spaces for children aged five and under.

Families seeking child-care services are encouraged to visit the Parent Portal and register for the Early Learning and Childcare Waitlist. The waitlist will be used to help determine where child-care spaces are most needed.

“We will continue to work with operators, community partners and families to tailor our approach to best meet the needs of families and children throughout the province,” said Hogan.

To meet its obligations under the agreement, the provincial government is aiming to create 3,400 high-quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive designated preschool early learning and child-care spaces by March 2026.

“Every child deserves the best start in life,” said federal Families, Children and Social Development Minister Karina Gould. “These additional licensed child-care spaces across the province will allow for more children and families in New Brunswick to access high-quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive early learning and child care.”

More details about government’s space creation strategy are available online.

The government will review its call for proposal process to ensure the needs of families are met.

A second call for proposals will be issued later this year.