Free daycare for low-income families

SAINT JOHN (GNB) – The provincial government has announced that families with an annual gross income under $37,500 will have access to free child care.

“Ensuring that all New Brunswick families are moving forward together is a priority for your government,” said Premier Brian Gallant. “Access to free child care for lower-income families will ensure parents are given every opportunity to enter the workforce or pursue their studies, while having the peace of mind that their children are being cared for in high-quality Early Learning Centres across the province.”

The free daycare program is for parents who are either working or attending school, with children aged five and under attending a designated New Brunswick Early Learning Centre.

“Investing in early childhood education is a key component of your government’s multi-year economic growth plan,” said Gallant. “Free child care for families that need the most support will help these families with the cost of child care, will help the children with their education, and will provide a boost to New Brunswick’s workforce so our economy can continue to grow.”

The program is available to eligible families regardless of the centre’s location or the fee charged by its operator. The first designated anglophone and francophone centres will be located in Saint John and the Greater Edmundston area beginning in March. They will be implemented provincewide by March 1, 2019.

“Your government is focused on a holistic approach to supporting New Brunswick families,” said Gallant. “Before this investment, if a single mother of a young child wished to further her studies at university, she would just not be able to afford both tuition and child care. Now, your government has offered her the opportunity to access both free tuition and free child care while she studies. Cases like these will result in healthier families and a stronger workforce here in New Brunswick.”‎

Parents will be notified by their daycares once they are designated and can begin the process.

“This announcement has the ability to dramatically reduce generational poverty in New Brunswick,” said Donna Gates, executive director of Living SJ. “Giving parents options to help break the cycle of poverty is key, and the opportunity to access free child care will make a big difference to many families.”

“Today’s announcement will not only change the lives of many New Brunswick families, but will also support economic growth in our province by allowing parents to return to the workforce or enroll in post-secondary education to increase their employment potential,” said Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce chair Claire Ryan. “Having more people working, and strengthening the workforce will help our province reach its economic potential.”

This daycare program is another way the government is helping working parents and parents attending university or college with child care costs.

Existing programs to help students continue their education include the Free Tuition Program and Tuition Relief for the Middle Class. These offer non-repayable provincial bursaries to make post-secondary education more accessible.

“It is encouraging that increasing access to post-secondary education is a key concern for the provincial government,” said University of New Brunswick president Eddy Campbell. “Any program that will help remove barriers to education and help families is crucial. We know that a well-educated population is the best way to set up our province and our students for economic success.”

Today’s announcement is part of a larger framework of child care investments and early learning initiatives related to:


  • Daycares in New Brunswick will be able to apply for a One-Time Quality Improvement Grant to increase the quality of both indoor and outdoor learning environments, including equipment and materials, for children aged five and under. The one-time grants will total $4.7 million over the next two years.
  • $7.5 million in annual Quality Grants will be provided to help the facilities deliver high-quality child care services and meet the criteria of becoming a designated New Brunswick Early Learning Centre. The funding equates to a daily funding enhancement of $2.50 per space per day for children aged two to five years old. All early learning centre operators will be required to develop a plan for continuous quality improvement.
  • New Brunswick Early Learning Centres will offer services to preschool children aged five and under through a voluntary application process. Daycares are not required to be part of this program. Those that choose to do so will work in collaboration with the government with the aim of offering equitable and affordable access to high-quality early learning and child care services by removing barriers linked to family income, children’s abilities and needs, language and minority settings.
  • The government is investing $28 million, in addition to the multi-year bilateral funding, to support wage increases for early childhood educators. The funding will be rolled out over four years beginning in 2019-20 and raise wages from $16 an hour to $19 an hour for trained early childhood educators by 2022-23.


  • A new child care registry will serve as a one-stop shop for families to register their children for available child care spaces and have access to apply for subsidies online. Families will also be able to determine immediately whether spaces are available in a facility or if there is a wait list.
  • An Infant Operator Grant will be available to offset operational costs of infant care. It will provide $10 per occupied infant space per day.
  • Transforming as many child care facilities as possible, with an aim of designating more than 300 as New Brunswick Early Learning Centres by 2020 to offer more affordable, accessible, inclusive and high-quality early learning and child care services.
  • Early Learning Centres will also receive support to help increase the number of infant spaces across the province by 200 by the year 2020.
  • Since October 2014 the provincial government has created nearly 3,000 new spaces and plans to expand the total number of spaces in New Brunswick to 30,000 by 2020.


  • In addition to today’s announcement, the government is committed to investing in access to affordability for even more New Brunswickers.
  • Additional financial support measures for preschool-aged children five and under will be unveiled in the near future.

Today’s announcement is part of a federal-provincial, three-year early learning and child care agreement that commits $71 million in investments to improve early learning and child care for preschool-aged children in the province. More details on the government’s plan to invest and transform the child care and early learning system are available in its Early Learning and Child Care Action Plan, Everyone at their best… from the start: Early Learning and Child Care Action Plan.


2017 Budget reaction: Kris Austin PANB party leader

peoples-allianceFredericton – The People’s Alliance is once again calling on the Gallant government to stop trimming the edges and to begin addressing the real issues with our fiscal challenges. For the past 10 years, both Liberal and Conservative governments have continued to run an annual operating deficit and increased the provincial debt nearly 3 fold. This puts individuals, families and our children’s future at great risk.

The 2017-2018 operating deficit is projected to be  $231 million, with the debt climbing to $13.9 billion next month which amounts to $18,600 per New Brunswicker.  Party leader Kris Austin says this is alarming.

“Until governments get serious about ending corporate welfare, and eliminating duality, the road to balanced books will never be traveled,” said Austin. “We cannot continue to see frontline services like education and healthcare cut while corporations are given tax payer handouts left and right.”

In their 2014 audited platform, the People’s Alliance revealed how New Brunswick can save hundreds of millions of dollars annually without affecting important front line services. The party has continued to press both Liberal and Tory governments to get NB Liquor out of the costly retail division (while maintaining wholesale and distribution), merge the two health authority administrations, and stop giving tax dollars to big business. By doing so, overall fees and taxes that are placed upon the shoulders of the provinces’ citizens could be reduced and the annual deficit eliminated.


Cathy Rogers Public Pre-budget consultations Schedule

Public invited to participate in pre-budget consultations

Hon. Cathy Rogers
MLA for Moncton South

New Brunswickers are invited to attend upcoming public meetings focused on priorities for the 2017-18 budget.

The nine meetings will be held throughout the province from Nov. 16 to Dec. 5.

Your government is committed to listening and taking the time to consult on what matters most to New Brunswickers. We understand how important creating jobs, growing the economy and securing health care and education are to New Brunswickers and their families. We have made those our priorities, too.

We were grateful for the significant public feedback during the Strategic Program Review process, as well as the recent economic summits, and is committed to continuing that dialogue. This year’s pre-budget consultation process will again focus on listening to New Brunswickers and identifying future government priorities.

Your government has a plan in place to balance the books by 2020-21 and we are seeing positive results. We are witnessing positive trends that will position New Brunswick for further economic growth. With these consultations, I am looking forward to hearing New Brunswickers’ feedback on our fiscal plan and gathering insight on what they see as priority areas for the 2017-18 budget.

Following is a full schedule of public meetings:

Fredericton – Wednesday, Nov. 16, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Fredericton Convention Centre – 670 Queen St.

Florenceville-Bristol – Thursday, Nov. 17, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Carleton North High School, 30 School St.

Moncton – Monday, Nov. 21, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Delta Beausejour, 750 Main St.

Neguac – Tuesday, Nov. 22, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Centre scolaire communautaire La fontaine, 700 Principale St.

Bathurst – Wednesday, Nov. 23, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

  1. C. Irving Regional Centre, Paul Ouellette Rm., 850 St. Anne St.

Edmundston – Tuesday, Nov. 29, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Centre de congrès, 74 Canada Rd.

Balmoral – Wednesday, Nov. 30, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Balmoral Community Centre, 21 du Centre St.

Saint Andrews – Thursday, Dec. 1, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

NBCC campus, 99 Augustus St.

Saint John – Monday, Dec. 5, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Delta Brunswick, 39 King St.

Employment Insurance That Strengthens Our Economy And Works For Canadians

Justin Trudeau leader of the Liberal Party

Employment Insurance is an anchor of economic security for Canadian workers. Its benefits are there for people if they lose their jobs through no fault of their own or are temporarily out of the workforce to raise a child, provide care for a loved one, or to get necessary skills training. In challenging economic times, a reliable Employment Insurance system is vital to ensuring that Canadians get back on their feet and that our economy can recover from downturns.

Employment Insurance is a crucial social and economic policy – it must do a better job at both helping Canadians when they need it, and supporting a well-trained, highly skilled work- force.

Unfortunately, over the past decade, Stephen Harper has cut Employment Insurance benefits, and far fewer Canadians qualify for the benefits that they need. In 2012, Harper introduced changes which force unemployed workers to move away from their communities and take lower-paying jobs. At the same time, Harper has been reducing service levels at Service Canada for Employment Insurance claims, leading to serious delays in processing times. This has forced some Canadians to turn to food banks as they wait for the benefits into which they have paid. Harper has also frozen Employment Insurance premiums at artificially high levels – not to enhance benefits, but to pad his budget and provide benefits to the wealthiest few.

Liberals understand that we need an Employment Insurance system that reflects our changing labour market. This means a system that is flexible, that does a better job of getting benefits to Canadians when they need them, and that helps Canadians develop the skills required for their next job. We will reduce Employment Insurance premiums in 2017 from $1.88 to $1.65, reducing payroll costs for employers and employees, while also ensuring that we can invest in strengthening Employment Insurance. With our new plan, we will build an Employment Insurance system that supports Canadians, and will help boost Canada’s economic growth now and in the long-term.

A Liberal government will accomplish this by doing the following:

  • We will reduce the waiting period for Employment Insurance benefits to one week from two. In addition, Employment Insurance processing will be a starting point for our new commitment to higher service standards in government, including reduced waiting times. We will deliver Employment Insurance benefits quickly and reliably.
  • We will end the higher 910-hour eligibility penalty for new workers and those re-entering the workforce, stopping the discrimination that makes it harder for some of Canada’s most precarious workers – including parents returning to the workforce, younger workers, people who have left the workforce due to illness, and new Canadians – from accessing the benefits that help them get back into the workforce.
  • We will increase investment in skills training, through a $500 million annual increase in funding to the Labour Market Development Agreements with provinces. We will work with provinces and territories to ensure that these new funds support their training priorities, support initiatives that demonstrate real pathways to good quality jobs, and develop the skills that employers need to grow our economy.
  • We will make Employment Insurance parental leave more flexible for family and work circumstances. This includes providing parents with the option to receive their benefits in smaller blocks of time over the first 18 months of their child’s life, or take a longer leave (up to 18 months) at a lower benefit level.
  • We will introduce a more flexible and accessible Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefit so that six months of benefits are available to those who are providing care to a seriously ill family member, rather than only those caring for a loved one at risk of death.
  • We will repeal the 2012 Harper changes to Employment Insurance.
  • We will work with the provinces and territories to assess how successfully the Employment Insurance system is delivering its core mandate to provide income security to workers in a changing labour market. This will result in changes to the program that ensure more Canadian workers, particularly those in more insecure work, can get access to the benefits they need. We will make the appropriate legislative and policy changes to ensure that Employment Insurance contributions are only used to fund Employment Insurance benefits and programs, and are not used by the government to fund other programs.
  • Our enhancements to Employment Insurance will apply to the 2017 calendar year.