Changes to the Child Day Care Act
The Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) is currently in the first engagement phase of the legislative process to have amendments made to the Act.
Public can provide their input on proposed amendments to the Act to support transformation of the early learning and child care system at haveyoursay.nwt-tno.ca/child-day-care-act.
The proposed amendments will focus on:
- establishing an NWT certification process and wage grid,
- increasing inclusion and reporting measures,
- establishing cost control measures,
- protecting the rights of families, and
- updating language.
The Proposed Amendments to Child Day Care Act Information Sheet summarizes what is in the existing Act and the proposed changes.
Frequently asked questions
Amendments to the Act were previously identified as a necessary step toward advancing universal child care. As the NWT is now in a place to better support early learning and child care system transformation, it is necessary to ensure that legislation supports and meets the needs of Indigenous Governments, licensed early learning and child care programs, early childhood educators, children, and families.
These changes will allow for an improved approach to:
- fulfilling the commitments in the 2030 Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Strategy; and
- meeting the targets identified within the Canada-NWT ELCC Agreements and Action Plan.
Without the proposed changes to the Act, the targets identified within the Canada-NWT ELCC Agreements and Action Plan will not be met, such as:
- improving the affordability of early learning and child care,
- supporting the creation and sustainability of licensed programs,
- enhancing inclusion and participation, and
- fostering retention and recruitment of a qualified early childhood workforce.
The proposed changes must be in place by March 2023 so that:
- a wage grid can be implemented for early childhood educators working in centre-based programs, and
- a certification process can be implemented for early childhood educators.
The proposed legislative changes must be submitted to the Legislative Assembly by the end of June to ensure the changes follow a defined process in time for March 2023.
While the engagement period for this phase of the legislative process is only approximately two weeks, there will be an opportunity for input at later phases, including when changes are made to the Child Day Care Standards Regulations.
Once the engagement on the proposed changes is completed, the exact wording will be drafted.
Cost control measures support affordable child care for families and are a necessary component of advancing universal child care in the NWT. Implementing cost control measures, such as setting limits on fees charged by licensed programs who receive funding from the GNWT, ensures that the money meant to enhance the affordability for families is doing what it is intended to do and would discourage expansion of for-profit child care. Achieving affordable child care would not be possible if fees charged to families are unlimited.
Other jurisdictions, such as the Yukon, British Columbia, and Ontario, already have cost control measures in place.
The proposed changes will increase transparency and accountability by requiring ECE to regularly report to the Government of Canada on its progress toward building a universal child care system in the NWT.
ECE collaborates with provinces and territories across Canada to inform the work while also partnering with Indigenous Governments and licensed programs to implement common practices within the context of the NWT.
Other jurisdictions, such as the Yukon, British Columbia, and Ontario, have already implemented cost control measures and most other jurisdictions across Canada have already established certification processes.
The Child Day Care Standards Regulations will be updated to align with the proposed changes to the Act.
How will the GNWT support early childhood educators, programs operators and staff through the certification process?
The proposed changes to the Act will support development of professional standards for the system.
As the certification process is developed, ECE will be communicating with both early childhood educators and operators to support them through the implementation process.
The proposed changes will help licensed programs establish contractual safeguards that align with upcoming changes to the early learning and child care system.
Licensed centre-based programs will be able to provide increased wages for the early childhood educators that they employ.
Licensed family day homes will have the opportunity to further support the children in their care through enhanced inclusion and will be able to continue to offer reduced fee for families to make their programs more affordable in alignment with licensed centres.
What will the changes to the Act mean for early childhood educators working in licensed centre-based programs?
One example of a change that will benefit centre-based early childhood educators is the establishment of a wage grid to increase wages based on their education and experience.
Families will benefit as more qualified staff are retained and recruited to care for children and inclusive programming is more accessible for all children.
Changes to the Act will help establish contractual safeguards to protect the rights of children and families to ensure they receive equitable access to affordable, quality, inclusive early learning and child care.