Manitoba is expanding eligibility to its Child Care Subsidy Program on Feb. 6, 2022, resulting in nearly half of regulated spaces being subsidized. This will reduce out-of-pocket parent fees for families with children in regulated child care by 30 per cent on average. This change ensures Manitoba is on track to achieve a key joint commitment in the Canada-Manitoba Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) agreement to reduce out-of-pocket parent fees by 50 per cent by Dec. 31, 2022.
The Child Care Subsidy Program provides assistance to eligible families by reducing child-care fees for children 12 weeks to 12 years of age. Of the 38,000 spaces available in the regulated child-care system, 6,000 children, or 16 per cent, currently receive a full or partial child-care subsidy. With the increases in eligibility, it is estimated that 12,000 additional children will receive support to access regulated child care, particularly in low and middle-income families. Triple the number of children that are currently supported in regulated child care and their families will now be eligible for a child-care subsidy.
Manitoba is increasing the net household income thresholds and allowable deductions for the Child Care Subsidy program by 45 per cent, which will range from an average net household income from $23,883 to $37,116 for a full subsidy and partial subsidy will range from $37,542 to $82,877. Child-care subsidies are based on net household income and family composition including the ages and number of children.
This moves Manitoba towards its commitment of reaching an average $10 out-of-pocket fee per day by March 2023, allowing more Manitoba families to participate in the labour market and maintain employment while knowing their children are receiving safe and nurturing care.
To implement the new subsidy eligibility threshold, Manitoba will increase annual funding to $82.7 million, with $64.5 million in federal funding coming through the Canada-Manitoba Canada-Wide ELCC agreement for children ages six and under. Enhancements to the current Child Care Online system and subsidy application process will be introduced in the coming weeks.
Further to this support for families, the governments of Canada and Manitoba are also working together to conclude negotiations for the 2021-22 to 2024-25 Canada-Manitoba Early Learning and Care Agreement, which extends existing funding beyond March 31, 2021. This includes one-time 2021-22 Early Childhood Workforce funding to support the retention and recruitment of the early learning and child-care workforce. Once signed, this agreement will be complementary to the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement.
“Our government is committed to working with the federal government and early childhood educators to build a community-based system of quality, affordable and inclusive early learning and child care programs and services for Manitoba families – and today we are taking an important step in achieving our collective goal. Improving access to affordable child care will support more Manitobans, especially women, to upgrade their training, participate in our economy and play a key role in our pandemic recovery.” – The Honourable Heather Stefanson, Premier of Manitoba
“The Government of Canada’s goal is to ensure that by the end of March 2026, all families in Canada, no matter where they live, will have access to regulated early learning and child care for an average of $10 a day. The reduction of fees announced today in Manitoba is a meaningful step toward achieving that goal and will make a real difference for families across the province. We will continue to work with Manitoba to help ensure that children have access to the high quality, affordable, and inclusive early learning and child care they need to succeed.” – The Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
“The Canada-Wide ELCC Agreement action plan helps to ensure an additional 12,000 children receive access to subsidized child-care services and to support a strong and qualified workforce. We recognize and appreciate the dedication that has always been demonstrated by the early learning and child-care sector. To further invest, strengthen and stabilize our early childhood educator workforce, we are finalizing the new Early Childhood Workforce funding agreement in partnership with the federal government, which will offer a one-time investment to initiate longer-term planning and supports for the workforce.” – The Honourable Wayne Ewasko, Manitoba Minister of Education and Early Childhood Learning
In August 2021, the governments of Canada and Manitoba jointly announced the Canada-Manitoba Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement. This agreement provided Manitoba with more than $1.2 billion in federal funding over five years to improve access to high quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive early learning and child-care programs and services with the goal of ensuring that Manitoba families have access to regulated child care for an average of $10 out-of-pocket parent fee a day in 2023.
Manitoba’s two-year action plan under the agreement aligns with key departmental priorities that support Manitoba’s efforts to modernize the provincial child-care system. A priority of this work is to ensure balanced affordability of child-care fees with financial assistance for providers through a modernized, equitable funding approach.