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Gillan still hopeful for child care deal this fall [CA-PE]

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Author: 
MacPhee, Nancy
Publication Date: 
29 Jul 2005
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With the province no closer to signing a child care deal with the federal government there is uncertainty if a program will be in place by September.

But Health and Social Services Minister Chester Gillan says it's still his intent to have a plan in place by this fall.

In its spring budget, the federal government announced a $5 billion national child care program intended to begin this fall. Initially, all provinces and territories were to sign-on to the program at the same time.

But later in the spring, in anticipation of a non-confidence vote and subsequent election, the federal government began a child care signing blitz with several provinces, signing agreements in principle with Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

Many had hoped a similar deal to be signed with this province at that time, but the Pat Binns government and the feds couldn't agree on its details.

The current federal government held onto power and the budget and the national child care bill has been passed.

Gillan said money is what is stalling P.E.I. from putting pen to paper.

Gillan said he wants all parents to have the chance to participate in improved day-care programs and for the federal government to provide the financial assistance so that people can be involved in the labour market.

In May, Gillan said he wanted the federal government to improve on its per capita formula, which would mean P.E.I. would receive a little over $3 million this year for the start-up of a program.

He said Wednesday there are a couple of initiatives he still wants included in the deal but refused to comment on what they are. He also wouldn't comment on exactly how much the province wants included in its child care deal.

Gillan noted discussions on inking a deal have slowed in the summer months but said they are still working on the file.

"I know these people in the day-care business want to have a new program for the fall. I would love to be able to do that."

He admitted he is feeling pressure from those in the field to get a deal signed soon.

We are reminded on a weekly basis. It is something we would like to say that we would like to have in place for the fall. All it takes is for the federal minister to say here is the funding and we are a go."

- reprinted from the Charlottetown Guardian

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Entered Date: 
5 Aug 2005
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