July 27, 2021
MEDIA RELEASE: Child Care Advocates calling for a Canada-Manitoba Child Care Agreement
Winnipeg, MB - On April 19th, 2021, the Federal Government committed to building a Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) system. This historic federal investment sets out to work with the provinces and territories to ensure that all Canadian families have access to affordable, high-quality, flexible and inclusive Canada-wide child care services, including specific support for Canada's ELCC workforce. Manitoba has the opportunity to build on its structures - to provide real, accessible, affordable choices for families, increase the quality and inclusivity of services for children and support a long-neglected ELCC workforce. So far, the Manitoba government has been silent.
Manitoba's child care advocates have written an Open Letter to the federal government calling on it to ensure that all new spending be directed to supporting licenses, non-profit and public child care, which will ultimately increase capacity, improve access, enhance quality and create choices for families. Federal investment into Manitoba's current ELCC system must strengthen an effective system for all children and families. It is imperative that all new federal dollars should complement, rather than replace or substitute for provincial dollars.
Manitoba’s agreement and comprehensive workforce strategy to support the ELCC sector, which is the heart of a well-functioning system in providing quality care to children, families and communities. Manitoba needs market competitive salaries and a wage grade for Early Childhood Educators. Tara Mills, founding member of Child Care is Essential says, “Our educated workforce is the foundation of a high-quality early learning and childcare system across Canada. It is essential that we invest in our educators so they receive pay and benefits which allow them to live a life of quality.”
Parent fees in Manitoba is licensed childcare facilities and family homes are too high for many families, even though they are the second lowest in the country. All children deserve access to rich social, physical, emotional, cognitive and culturally responsive developmental opportunities in child care, irrespective of their family’s ability to pay. Parent affordability must be enhanced in Manitoba.
“The federal budget includes all the foundational elements that are needed to develop and support a balance system. Now it’s time to make this a reality in Manitoba as we’ve seen in other jurisdictions,” says Tracy Cosser, Past President of the Manitoba Child Care Association.
Manitoba has long been the envy of other provinces/territories in Canada for it established, highly regulated and quality system. The federal governments investment must be prioritized to shape an evidence-based, effective, efficient, quality child care system that will enhance and support current services for children and families, not abandon them.
- 30 -
Tara Mills, Childcare is Essential
Brianne Goertzen, Manitoba Child Care Now
Tracy Cosser, Manitoba Child Care Association
Maureen Morrison, Child Care Coalition of Manitoba