Public child care and early childhood education
New Brunswick has no publicly-delivered child care and there is no legislated local government role in child care delivery, administration or funding. There is, however, one form of publicly-delivered early childhood education: kindergarten is compulsory and available to all five-year-olds for a full school-day (4.5 hours a day).
Who provides child care?
For-profit centres form the majority of regulated child care provision in New Brunswick. Data on the number of spaces in the non-profit and for-profit sectors has not been available in New Brunswick since 1995, but provincial officials have provided percentage estimates since 2004. These estimates show that the for-profit child care sector grew from 40% of provision in 1995 to 67% in 2008. Using current estimates to calculate the approximate number of spaces by sector in 2008 gives a total of about 10,389 spaces in the for-profit sector—an increase of 7,666 spaces since 1992. Growth in the non-profit sector in the same 16-year period has been considerably smaller—an estimated gain of 1,433 spaces since 1992.
New Brunswick’s public funding for child care was fairly static until 2001, when it doubled, then doubled again between 2004 and 2008. Less than half of the province’s public funding is now spent on subsidies; quality initiatives and funding for special needs made up the rest of the budget in 2008. In addition, in 2007/2008, capital start-up funding was available from the Early Learning and Child Care Trust Fund, established with the federal funds available in 2005/2006 and 2006/2007 through the bilateral ELCC agreement. Both for-profit and non-profit operators can access capital start-up funds.
In 2009, the provincial government initiated four pilot sites integrating early childhood education and care based on Toronto’s First Duty model. These are all community-based non-profits. Each one will receive $100,000 annually from the provincial government.
- Total provincial budget allocations for regulated child care (2007/08): $26,236,200. (Note that the ELCC Trust Fund is in addition to these funds.)
- All types of public funding (subsidies, operating and capital) are available to for-profit child care centres in New Brunswick. The province is one of four that now provide capital funds to for-profit child care (the others are Nova Scotia, Alberta and British Columbia).
- Fee subsidies are payable to any regulated non-profit or for-profit child care centre. Fee subsidies are paid directly to centres on behalf of eligible parents.
- Both for-profit and non-profit centres are eligible for one-time Start-Up Funding (capital). This funding is not included in the provincial child care budget, but comes from the Early Learning and Child Care Trust Fund. Employees of both for-profit and non-profit programs have access to Training Assistance Funding.
- Both for-profit and non-profits may apply for funding from the Quality Improvement Funding Support program and Special Needs Funding grants.
Of historical note
During bilateral agreement negotiations with the federal government, the government of New Brunswick took the position that there should be minimal restrictions on federal child care funding. New Brunswick advocated that funding should go not only to licensed non-profit and for-profit centres and day homes, but also to informal arrangements and to parents staying at home.
The provincial government initiated four pilot sites to integrate early childhood education and care based on Toronto’s First Duty model. These school-based models are principal led, not-for-profit operations, formed through community partnerships including schools, health, child care and other organizations.
Relevant quality research
There are statistically significant differences in quality between for-profit and non-profit child care in the Atlantic provinces. The Atlantic Day Care Study (Lyon and Canning, 1995) found that non-profit centres consistently scored higher on the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS) than for-profit centres across all four Atlantic provinces. The findings were significant for all provinces.
In New Brunswick:
- The average ECERs score (non-profit and for-profit) was 4.56.
- The mean for the for-profit sample was 4.03; for the non-profit sample it was 5.08. (In the ECERS, a score of 3= minimal, 5=good, and 7=excellent.)
An analysis of You Bet I Care! data (Doherty, Friendly and Forer, 2002) found that the difference in quality between for-profits and non-profits in New Brunswick was negligible. Both sectors obtained very low scores. One explanation for this contrary finding is that New Brunswick had very minimal regulatory requirements at the time of data collection: there were no education requirements in Early Childhood Education for either centre directors or centre staff. As well, there were no operating grants and there was a cap on the fee subsidy budget.
Who’s who in the for-profit sector
The New Brunswick for-profit sector is primarily made up of individual owners and a few small local chains. The largest chain is Club des Amis, which has seven locations throughout the province, including the only 24-hour child care centre. The for-profit sector is represented by Early Childhood Care and Education New Brunswick (ECCENB), which includes non-profit and for-profit centres.
Chains (multiple ownership in the for-profit sector)
Owner/operator: Monique MacMullin
Five locations, all in Moncton
(ABC Daycare, ABC Plus Day Care Center, Club ABC, Garderie ABC deux, ABC Too)
Club des Amis
Owner/operator: Lucie Blanchard
Seven locations (Bathurst)
Age range: Infant to school-age
Note: Club des Amis offers 24-hour care at two centres.
Wee College Inc.
Owner/operator: Melody Munro
Three locations: Riverview Stepping Stones Wee College, Riverview Stepping Stones Wee College Too, Riverview Stepping Stones Youth Center. A fourth Wee College Inc. in Moncton (at the Moncton Hospital) is incorporated as a non-profit.
Garderie Ia Floraison, Gardherisson, and Le Centre Prescolaire Ia Garderisson Inc.
Owner/operator: Nadine Cormier
Three locations (one in Moncton and two in Dieppe)
Large for-profit centres (multiple licences at one location
Happy Clown Day Care Ltd.
Owner/operator: Nathalie Harrigan
Happy Clown has three licences, all at the same location in Quispamsis. In total the centre has 155 spaces.
Website: http://www.happyclownday care.com/
Kids Choice Ltd.
Owner/operator: Jennifer Arsenault
Kids Choice holds three licences, all at the same location in Saint John. In total the centre has 132 spaces.
Doherty, G., Friendly, M. and Forer, B. (2002).Child care by default or design? An exploration of differences between non-profit and for-profit Canadian child care centres using the You Bet I Care! data sets.Toronto: Childcare Resource and Research Unit.
Lyon, M. and Canning, P. (1995). The Atlantic day care study. Halifax:. Mount Saint Vincent University.
- The content of this section was compiled using the best information that is publicly available. Using these sources, every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate and comprehensive. Ownership of two centres was not included as a “chain”.