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Underwhelming Results of Federal Child Care Funding in New Brunswick

Province leaves most first-year funding unspent, misses space-creation target by more than 90%


October 12, 2023

New Brunswick got off to a very slow start in implementing its Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement with the federal government, according to a Cardus research brief.

Child Care Funding Update: New Brunswick – Year One examines how New Brunswick fared in the first year of the five-year agreement it signed with the federal government in December 2021. The province received around $55 million in the first year of the agreement to bring it into what the federal government hopes will become a national $10-a-day daycare system.

Despite setting aside $50 million for fee reductions in the first year of its deal with the federal government, New Brunswick didn’t actually spend any of that money. In fact, the province managed to spend just $5.5 million of its funding, mostly to provide operational grants to existing child care providers—and even then, it went 30% over-budget.

And New Brunswick has a target of creating 3,400 child care spots by Year Five of the Agreement, but only saw a net gain of 300 spots in the first year.

“New Brunswick’s first year under the federal child care funding deal with pretty underwhelming,” says Peter Jon Mitchell, Family Program Director at Cardus. “Granted, the province signed the deal with just four months left in its fiscal year, which probably made implementation even more difficult. But governments have consistently underestimated both the costs and complexities of creating these systems. New Brunswick would’ve been better off directing funding to parents directly.”

The research brief also commends New Brunswick for being one of the few provinces and territories to publicly post its progress in implementing its 2021 Canada-wide child care funding deal.

Child Care Funding Update: New Brunswick – Year One is publicly available online. Cardus has also published updates for British Columbia and Saskatchewan, and will later publish updates for the other provinces and territories.

Daniel Proussalidis
Cardus – Director of Communications

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