BRANDON—The Manitoba government is investing $600,000 in capital funding for the child-care expansion project at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) of Brandon’s Y Downtown Early Learning Centre, Education and Early Childhood Learning Minister Wayne Ewasko announced here today.
“Our government is committed to ensuring Manitoba families have access to quality, affordable and inclusive child care that is conveniently located,” said Ewasko. “We are proud to invest in this significant expansion project that will double the number of spaces at the Y Downtown to increase accessibility to needed child-care services in the city of Brandon and the Westman region.”
The expansion was made possible through a capital grant under the Early Learning and Child Care Building Fund, which dedicates $1.9 million annually for child-care centre development projects. This fund supports increases in community-based child-care spaces across the province through new construction or the expansion of existing centres to increase their capacity. The Y Downtown child-care centre project was awarded the maximum grant available under the fund.
The minister noted the Y Downtown’s child-care capacity will double to 96 from 48 spaces once the project is complete, creating 12 new infant spaces and 36 pre-school spaces helping more families in need of child-care services.
“The Y is thrilled to be increasing the number of child-care spaces in our community, particularly infant and toddler spaces,” said Lon Cullen, president and CEO, YMCA of Brandon. “This is particularly important given the dire shortage of infant spaces in our community. We are thankful to the province to be able to enhance our child-care spaces in the Dood Cristall Family YMCA located in the heart of downtown.”
The expansion of the Y Downtown’s child-care facility is part of a larger project underway at the YMCA of Brandon. In addition to increasing accessibility to child-care spaces, the project features initiatives that will enhance the services offered to the community, especially for youth, seniors and families. These initiatives include increasing space for supportive programming and creating two outdoor play areas. The centre expansion is expected to open in November 2023, the minister noted.
The project’s funding also builds on other recent investments in child-care projects including Dugald Daycare Inc., a new stand-alone child-care facility providing 74 child-care spaces adjacent to Dugald School.
In addition to these provincially funded projects, the provincial and federal governments have made investments in child care as part of the Canada-Manitoba Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement launched last summer, and the extended Canada-Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care Agreement launched earlier this year.