Newly designated Early Years Centres and updated regulations
The New Year brings added benefits for the early years sector in Prince Edward Island, including updated regulations, three newly designated Early Years Centres (EYCs) and a drop in child care fees to $10-a-day.
After extensive consultation, the province is pleased to support the early years sector and Island families by updating the Early Learning and Child Care Act regulations. These updates will support centres and developers who want to plan for more spaces by allowing for increased enrollment, modernized titles for staff certification levels and added pathways to obtain certification, and bring changes to prevent delays in filling vacancies at centres.
“We know there is a need for more early learning and child care spaces in our province. By updating these regulations, coupled with our recent announcements of expansion grants, capital grants and low-interest loans, we hope to see this sector continue to grow and thrive.”
- Education and Early Years Minister Natalie Jameson.
Also, three more early childhood centres have received provincial Early Years designations:
- CHANCES Smart Start, Kensington
- Family Place, Summerside
- Shining Stars Childcare Centre Inc., Stratford
Designated EYCs offer accessible, sustainable, and quality driven early childhood environments. They receive funding through the Canada-Prince Edward Island Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement to follow a provincial framework for curriculum, recognized as one of the best in the country, and are staffed by certified educators who are compensated according to the provincial wage grid. EYCs also have government-regulated parent fees, which dropped to $10-a-day on January 1, 2024.
“Every child deserves the best possible start in life. Thanks to their designation, these centres will help ensure more families on the Island have access to $10-a-day child care. I look forward to our continued collaboration with the province to create more child care spaces and support the early childhood educator workforce so every family has access to high-quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive child care,” said Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Jenna Sudds.
These investments in early learning and child care are made possible through both the Canada-Prince Edward Island Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement and the Prince Edward Island Department of Education and Early Years operating budget. The federal and provincial governments are committed to improving the early years system, with a focus on affordability, removing barriers for families, creating inclusive services, and prioritizing the recruitment, retention, and professional growth of the workforce.
Department of Education and Early Years
Office of the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
Early Learning and Child Care Act regulations originally came into force on January 1, 2017, and had subsequent amendments in 2018.
Consultation meetings to update the regulations were held with the early learning and child care sector, including the Early Childhood Development Association, owner/operators and directors of licensed centres, and early childhood educators in January 2022, April 2022, August 2022 and June 2023. Discussions included how best to move forward with regulatory changes and better support for the system.
There are 15 regulatory amendments which came into effect on December 30th, 2023, they allow for:
- changes to staff certification level titles and additional educational pathways to obtain certificates;
- an increase to the maximum licensed capacity for licensed centres from 80 to 125;
- an increase to the maximum infant group size in licensed centres from six to twelve; along with associated requirements related to ratios, room size and nap rooms; and
- newly hired staff at licensed centres to have an eight-week window to obtain their CPR and first aid certifications while ensuring that at least one staff member with this training is always present in a licensed centre.