“Our government recognizes that access to affordable and high-quality child care is essential for Manitobans to participate in the workforce, support their families and play an active role in the growth of their communities and the economy,” said Stefanson. “Today, I am proud to share that with the significant initiatives our government has implemented over the past few years to lower parent fees and build capacity in the child-care system, we have gone above and beyond our commitment by reducing all parent fees to $10 a day for children 12 and under attending licensed, funded early learning and child-care centres and homes. Our government recognizes many Manitoba families are struggling to make ends meet and this partnership and our significant investments will save Manitoba families thousands of dollars a year in child-care fees.”
Under the Canada-Manitoba Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, the Manitoba government committed to decreasing parent fees and reaching an average of $10 per day by 2026. Today, the Manitoba government announced it has surpassed its commitment and has done so three years ahead of schedule, the premier noted.
“Over the past several years, our government has been working diligently to strengthen and grow the early learning and child-care system to be able to effectively implement this significant fee reduction,” said Ewasko. “We have been working collaboratively with the child-care sector, municipalities, Indigenous communities, and the business community to create thousands of new spaces throughout our province. Additionally, we are supporting initiatives to build a strong workforce so Manitoba families can be confident their children are receiving the best care to support their needs.”
As part of efforts to strengthen the workforce, the Manitoba government also announced today an expression of interest to expand post-secondary training options for early learning and child-care professionals, the minister noted.
“Our government continues making investments to attract, train, and retain child-care professionals,” said Ewasko. “The expression of interest will support training expansion, as well as the development of additional on-site child-care spaces and expansion of existing facilities to create new learning labs and development sites that will allow students to put their in-class learning into practice.”
The expression of interest invites post-secondary institutions to apply for funding to develop new programming to train child-care professionals and will help ensure there are an additional 1,000 child-care assistants and 2,000 early childhood educators by 2026, the minister said, adding that post-secondary institutions are also invited to submit proposals for the expansion of child-care services on campus to support students, employees and communities.
“Early childhood educators are the essential foundation of high-quality child-care services. Investing in the early learning and child-care workforce, both now, and planning for the future, is fundamental to successful system building for children, families and all,” said Jodie Kehl, executive director, Manitoba Child Care Association Inc.
The expression of interest for training expansion closes today, while the expression of interest for child-care expansion and learning lab development closes March 31. The Manitoba government will proceed with the selection process and the development of training programming in the coming weeks, Ewasko said, adding that funding for expanded training options will be provided through the Canada-Manitoba Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement.
Over the past two years, the Manitoba government has implemented a number of initiatives to support a high-quality, accessible, inclusive early learning child-care system in the province, Stefanson said, particularly in the following areas: spaces, workforce and affordability.
For quality child care to benefit Manitobans, spaces are needed in every community across the province and to achieve this the Manitoba government has:
- provided new, ongoing operating grants to support the creation of over 3,100 affordable child-care spaces;
- partnered with rural municipalities and First Nations communities to build 23 new child-care centres, creating an additional 1,670 spaces; and
- worked with community-based organizations, existing child-care providers, school divisions and other partners to advance the Manitoba government’s overall commitment for 23,000 new child-care spaces by 2026.
The Manitoba government is committed to creating a qualified, motivated workforce of early childhood educators and child-care assistants by improving recruitment, retention and remuneration, and to support this goal has:
- allocated nearly $37 million to implement a wage grid to support wage equity for the early childhood workforce, by providing a 12 per cent increase to revenue per space added to the operating grants;
- implemented the Early Childhood Educators Tuition Reimbursement, providing up to $5,000 per student per academic year, which has already supported 380 students; and
- provided $60 million in quality enhancement grants to child-care facilities to support infrastructure improvements, curriculum development and workforce retention.
Affordable child care provides choices for individuals and families. A provincewide early learning and child-care plan means ensuring all families have access to quality, professional and affordable child care in their community and to meet this need the Manitoba government has:
- provided a further $1 million to almost $140 million in annual provincial funding to support affordable child care for families, with the additional funding ensuring the $10-a-day child care covers a regular day of care for school-aged children;
- expanded net household income thresholds for the Child Care Subsidy Program by 45 per cent in 2022, allowing more families to have child-care fees reduced; and
- provided a $72-million parent fee advance to reduce parent fees through child-care centres.
“Our government is working diligently to ensure every Manitoba child and family can access high-quality, affordable, inclusive early learning and child care across the province. We look forward to continuing our work to establish Manitoba’s child-care system as one of the most affordable in the country,” said Stefanson.
For more information about early learning and child care in Manitoba, visit: www.manitoba.ca/childcare.
For more information about the Canada-Manitoba Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, visit: www.canada.ca/en/early-learning-child-care-agreement/agreements-provinces-territories/manitoba-canada-wide-2021.html.
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