Licensed Child Care Support
The GNWT recognizes that licensed early learning and child care programs are a priority and may be significantly impacted by the evolving COVID-19 situation, which is why we are working to support programs to remain financially sustainable through this global health emergency.
The GNWT recognizes the early years as the most important in a child’s development. A strong early learning and child care system is essential in helping NWT children be ready to learn and grow. The GNWT has identified early learning and child care as a priority and this is reflected in the 19th Legislative Assembly’s Mandate.
The high level of interest and need for child care expressed by essential services workers has underscored the important role that early childhood educators have always had and will continue to have in supporting economic recovery following the pandemic.
ECE is providing support to licensed childcare programs during the COVID-19 pandemic to help programs remain open or re-open at the earliest possible opportunity. Effective April 24, 2020, ECE identified $5.106 million to immediately create four temporary child care initiatives that will support parents providing essential services during the COVID-19 public health emergency and lessen the financial impacts on licensed family day homes and centre-based child care programs.
As part of the initial response to COVID 19, ECE identified immediate funding requirements and established four temporary initiatives that included a 33% parent subsidy; a wage top-up for child care staff; funding for enhanced cleaning and disinfecting; and a subsidy to offset fixed costs to programs:
- As the NWT moves into the Phase 2 of Emerging Wisely, ECE will extend two of the four temporary initiatives to include:
- Funding for licensed early learning and child care programs to purchase supplies and/or cleaning staff to carry out enhanced cleaning regimens at child care centres, and to provide personal protective equipment (PPE).
ECE is continuing to provide the following regular funding to licensed early learning and child care programs:
- The Early Childhood Program (ECP) attendance-based operating subsidy will continue to be provided to licensed early learning and childcare programs, regardless of circumstance (i.e., regular operation, closures or lower attendance than usual due to COVID-19) based on the previous payment amount. This will address their immediate needs to cover operating costs and staff wages.
- The existing Early Childhood Staff Grant will continue be provided to all staff working in licensed, centre-based programs based on the previous payment amount. This grant is paid directly to individual staff as a wage top-up, and will flow to all eligible staff, including those in programs that have already closed.
- Healthy Children Initiative (HCI) and Supporting Child Inclusion and Participation (SCIP) funds will be provided for 2020-21 to existing recipients of both funding streams at the amount provided during the 2019-20 fiscal year, further supporting stability for existing programs. New funding requests may be considered at a later date depending on needs and available funds.