See text below.
The 2003/04 budget includes a $6.0 million increase for child care, which represents an 8.6% increase over last year s budget. Since 2000, funding for child care has increased by over 41% to nearly $76 million.
The $6 million supports the Five Year Plan for Child Care by providing:
* Additional operating grants to increase wages and incomes for service providers. Effective July 2003, annual operating grants will increase as follows:
- Infant Spaces: a 4% increase to grant from $6,500 to $6,760
- Preschool Spaces: a 6% increase to grant from $2,002 to $2,132
- School Age Spaces: a 13% increase to grant from$536 to $606
(New unit rate increases to $216.00)
FOR FAMILY CHILD CARE:
- A 6% increase to infant, preschool, and school age grants.
FOR NURSERY SCHOOLS:
- For programs operating five or fewer sessions, a 6% increase from $95 to $101 per space.
- For programs operating six or more sessions, a 6% increase from $189 to $201 per space.
* Increased funding for a total of approximately 800 spaces.
* Funding for training grants of up to $250.00 for newly licensed family child care providers, as well as for currently licensed providers and child care assistants who successfully complete a relevant and accredited 40 hour course. This is a first step in providing training supports to assist those in the field pursuing post-secondary training in early childhood education.
* Providing an increase for Child Day Care's Competency Based Assessment and Competency Based Assessment/Prior Learning Assessment Programs.
* Providing funding to continue and expand the public education and student recruitment campaign.
* Additional funding to provide full year support for spaces that were newly funded in 2002/03.
* Additional funding for the Children with Disabilities Program to support more children with disabilities and provide equivalent wage increases for their workers. This represents a 17 per cent increase over 2002/03.
* Additional funding for the Subsidy Program to cover cost increases and to support more subsidized children, as well as to cover additional costs for full day care for school age children given the new school year start date after labour day effective September 2003.
EARLY LEARNING AND CHILD CARE FRAMEWORK
In March 2003, Federal, Provincial, Territorial Ministers Responsible for Social Services reached an agreement for improving access to affordable, quality regulated early learning and child care programs.
The new Multilateral Framework for Early Learning and Child Care will result in federal funding of $32.2 million for Manitoba over 5 years, beginning in 2003/04. The funding begins very modestly in 2003/04 at $900.0 and builds slowly over the following four years - $2.7, $5.4, $10.7, $12.5 million.