The governments of Canada and Manitoba today announced expansions at two child-care centres in francophone communities to create 100 new spaces for French-speaking families.
“Our government’s priority is to ensure children have the best possible start in life and that starts with a strong cultural and linguistic foundation,” said Ahmed Hussen, federal minister of families, children and social development. “These new spaces will create more opportunities for kids across Manitoba to receive the best care in their language of choice.”
“Our government continues to support flexibility and options for families as we help develop early learning and child-care spaces,” said Manitoba Families Minister Rochelle Squires. “I am pleased to announce these new francophone options to ensure fully immersive child-care environments for French-speaking Manitobans.”
Les P’tits Brisous Inc. supports families in the francophone community of La Broquerie. The school-based child-care centre at École Saint-Joachim is being expanded to create 39 new spaces including eight infant and 16 preschool spaces.
“We are very pleased the governments of Manitoba and Canada are investing in child care for francophone communities,” said Andrée Rémillard, director, Les P'tits Brisous. “This expansion will help to ensure we can better meet the needs of families in our community and provide quality early learning and child care for the children in our program.”
La Garderie Arc-en-ciel Inc. supports families in the francophone community of Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes. The school-based child-care centre at Ecole régionale Notre-Dame was expanded recently to create 61 new spaces including 16 infant, 10 preschool and 35 school-aged spaces.
Both child-care centres are in schools that are part of the Franco-Manitoban School Division.
Both projects have been supported by more than $1.6 million in capital grants through the 2020-21 Canada-Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, along with more than $405,000 in start-up and annual operating grant funding.
The Canada-Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care Agreement delivers more than $15 million annually for early learning and child-care investments in Manitoba. In total with the investments in 2020-21, the federal government will have provided Manitoba with a total of approximately $62.4 million over four years for early learning and child care. The governments of Canada and Manitoba are working to extend the current bilateral agreement to continue to support the early learning and child-care sector.
Federal Budget 2021 proposed a generational investment of $30 billion over the next five years to build a Canada-wide early learning and child-care system, with a goal of reducing regulated child-care fees by an average of 50 per cent by the end of next year and to an average of $10 a day within five years. To begin the process of working toward this goal, the Government of Canada has also announced it is investing $420 million in 2021–22 to support the recruitment and retention of early childhood educators across Canada.
Squires noted that 684 spaces have been created in Manitoba through the bilateral agreement to date, and that an additional 317 spaces are expected to become available by the end of next year. As well, provincial Budget 2021 highlights the creation of 541 new centre-based child-care spaces and 50 new home-based spaces over the course of the next fiscal year through operating grants.
Manitoba’s capital grant program continues to fund spaces, such as those announced today, in addition to the $4.7-million Child Care Centre Development Tax Credit, which will create up to 682 spaces over five years and 260 spaces by the fall of 2021. This builds on the Manitoba government’s record of creating more than 4,000 new child-care spaces since coming to office in 2016.