Government of Manitoba, Canada News Release–The governments of Canada and Manitoba have signed the next three years of bilateral agreements to continue strengthening and expanding Manitoba’s child-care sector, improving access to high-quality, affordable child care for Manitoba families, federal Minister of Children, Families and Social Development Minister Jenna Sudds and Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning Minister Wayne Ewasko announced today.
“Since we first partnered, we have made extraordinary progress in improving access to and affordability of quality child care,” said Ewasko. “We have also committed to more than 12,000 new child-care spaces opening across Manitoba, improved facility infrastructure, expanded access to early learning and child-care training, reimbursed tuition costs, increased wages for early childhood educators and child-care assistants and introduced $10-per-day child care for kids under age seven—three years ahead of schedule. And over the next three years our government will achieve even more.”
A new three-year action plan, signed as part of the Canada-Manitoba Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, sets out plans for the remainder of the estimated $1.2 billion the federal government is providing over five years for child care. In addition, a new two-year action plan sets out plans for the remainder of the estimated $78 million the federal government is providing over four years under the Canada-Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care Agreement.
“We have made incredible progress towards our governments’ shared goal of making high-quality child care more affordable and accessible across the province,” said federal Canada’s Minister of Children, Families and Social Development Jenna Sudds. “I look forward to working with the Manitoba government to implement the Canada-wide system and to ensure that every child receives the best possible start in life.”
The new action plans put increased emphasis on Indigenous engagement, francophone child care, diversity and inclusion, and space expansion. Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning has included specific references in the plans to consult on an extension of Mamàhtawisiwin: The Wonder We Are Born With , Manitoba’s Indigenous education policy framework.
The new action plan supports the continued growth of the successful initiatives already implemented to strengthen the early childhood workforce, reduce parent fees, and improve access to high-quality early learning and child care through capital and space expansion projects.
In addition, the new action plan focuses on quality, inclusion and diversity through new programs and initiatives including:
- an inclusion workshop series, as well as leadership and governance training for centre directors and board members, to be facilitated by the Manitoba Child Care Association;
- a newcomer training and tuition reimbursement initiative in partnership with the Manitoba Métis Federation to recruit and train Ukrainian newcomers to become early childhood educators;
- a francophone governance and inclusion grant for La Fédération des parents de la francophonie manitobaine to support francophone child-care facilities;
- rural and northern workforce training through the competency-based assessment program, helping individuals obtain Early Childhood Educator II classification;
- support for the Mamàhtawisiwin Indigenous Education Symposium, to include representation of early childhood as part of the continuum of learning; and
- expanding the Abecedarian program, an evidenced-based early childhood intervention for higher-needs communities, beginning this fall at Thrive Child Care, Children of the Universe Learning Centre, and Early Learning and Child Care Thompson Inc.
“From Swan River to Steinbach, Brandon to Bridgwater, we see the value reaching every corner of this province, and the new action plans ensure Manitoba’s child-care priorities are met,” said Ewasko. “I cannot overstate how much these agreements have strengthened our child-care sector and benefitted Manitoba children and families, and will continue to do so in the years to come.”
In addition, the Manitoba government is providing $2.9 million to increase the child-care base operating grant by two percent in 2023-24 for all licensed and provincially funded child-care facilities.
Recently, operating grants have been increased to incorporate the wage grid supplement and that increase has been targeted to support increasing wages. This increase to the base operating grant will be retroactive to April 1, and will support child-care facilities to address other cost pressures they have been experiencing.
“Like so many Manitobans, our child-care facilities are facing increased costs across the board,” said Ewasko, “Over the past two years, the Manitoba government has provided over $93.1 million towards increased operational funding dedicated to support staff wage increases under the wage grid. This new funding will help to reduce the burden on other operational costs such as rent, programming, food and supplies, and support child-care facilities and their boards in maintaining high-quality programs for Manitoba’s children and families.”
The Manitoba government is investing $2.3 million in provincial funds to provide this increase to the base operating funding for early learning and child-care facilities. An additional $604,000 is being provided under the Canada-Manitoba Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement to extend this increase to newly created spaces for children under the age of seven.
The minister noted that more than 1,100 additional expansion spaces have been approved for operating grant funding, meaning that in two years, Manitoba has opened more than 4,800 new, high-quality, affordable child care spaces.
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.
For more information on child care in Manitoba, visit www.manitoba.ca/childcare.