PEI

P.E.I. to review childcare subsidy

Opposition MLA Darlene Compton says the program is too restrictive for families to access.

Tiny Mundy, minister of Family and Human Service, won't commit to raising subsidy until after review

Family and Human Services Minister Tina Mundy said more than 900 Islanders accessed the childcare subsidy last year. (CBC)

The P.E.I. government won't commit to increasing the childcare subsidy until it has reviewed the program, says Family and Human Services Minister Tina Mundy.

Opposition MLA Darlene Compton pressed Mundy in the legislature Thursday to make that commitment immediately. She said it is too the program is too restrictive for families to access.

"I'm asking you to do what's right and make the commitment to lower the requirements now for the childcare subsidy. Make that commitment now. Don't review it," Compton said.

The government cut the subsidy by $300,000 in the spring budget. When combined with cuts last year, the budget has been reduced by close to 20 per cent over two years.

Mundy said the budget was cut because not enough families were using it. She said more than 900 Island families used the program last year, and no Islander who qualifies would be turned away.

But the Opposition argued fewer people are using it because fewer people can qualify.

"The problem is Islanders get turned away before they even get in the door," Compton said. 

"That's the issue here. The issue here is we've got bracket creep that's affecting every Islander in a certain income bracket and now they do not qualify for the program. They still need the funds."

Mundy said she "owes it to Islanders" to consult with staff and people who are receiving the benefits before making any changes.

"We will commit to our platform commitment of increasing the childcare subsidy to $300,000 after we've reviewed the program and we decide where it's going to serve Islanders most," she said.

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