Capacity restrictions lifted from child-care centres

The Newfoundland and Labrador government is removing size limits on daycare centres, although a Liberal critic says much more needs to be done to help parents with young children.
Minister Susan Sullivan announces changes in the province's child care law at the Confederation Building on Tuesday. (CBC)

The Newfoundland and Labrador government is removing size limits on daycare centres, although a Liberal critic says much more needs to be done to help parents with young children. 

Susan Sullivan,the minister responsible for early childhood development, said home room numbers and quality standards will remain the same, but bigger centres will give operators greater programming and financial flexibility. 

"What we are endeavouring to do as we remove the cap from the licensees is to provide greater flexibility in the scope of programming that can be provided under a single roof," Sullivan said during a news conference Tuesday. 

"The staff-to-child ratio will remain the same. The quality of the structural programming will remain the same."

Liberal education critic Dale Kirby called the announcement "modest."

Liberal education critic Dale Kirby says Tuesday's announcement was void of key child care initiatives. (CBC)

Kirby said legislative changes for early childhood education is a move in the right direction, but criticizes the government for not enacting other child care needs. 

He said the government is late on a number of promises, including on-line child care registry and accommodations for children with special needs.

"She made some reference to maybe grants to make child care more affordable, but we'll have to wait and see," Kirby told reporters.

"Basically this was an announcement to say they'll be making a further announcements at some point." 

Other key changes to the legislation include stronger language on child care, a new appeals process, more transparent inspection and statutory reviews every five years.

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