Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, earlier today the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment outlined the accomplishments of the department and I acknowledge that happily. I don't want to take anything away from that, Mr. Speaker.
At the same time, I know he will continue to work diligently on his portfolio until the last day, even when all of us are out there doing something else. So I wish to highlight something I need to look at, which I have mentioned in this House before, and that has to do with improving the government's daycare subsidy program and how it's applied to a licensed daycare home.
Mr. Speaker, a licensed day home is a small home-based operation that is just a little bit bigger than a regular babysitting service where the operator is allowed to have up to eight children and up to six of them of preschool age. Currently, Mr. Speaker, the government subsidizes $28 per child per day, while the going market rate is $35. Once they're billed, the government often takes months and months to pay their bills. In the meantime, these operators are expected to pay for these children and carry the cost until they are paid. This is not a fair practice, Mr. Speaker. I would suggest that the subsidy should be increased to at least meet the market rate. Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, I am advised that these clients on subsidy are cut off for whatever reason and often no notice is given to the operator. The operators usually expect a 30-day notice from any other parents that bring their children. The operator is then left out in the cold without ability to fill the spot because she or he was given no notice. No business would be expected to operate under these conditions, Mr. Speaker.
I would suggest to the government that the government consider reserving spots for a daycare subsidy or at least pay for the duration of notice. Mr. Speaker, the important point here is that the daycare program is a much needed service and there's not enough of it. The daycare subsidy program is one small thing the government is doing and it's a good thing. It's just that it should be done better.
Mr. Speaker, daycare operators will be less and less willing to take the children on daycare subsidy unless the situation is improved. I do believe that the Minister believes in the importance of this program and that he will work until the last day to improve it. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.