Text of the press release:
The province will fund an extra 25 child-care sites, raising its five-year commitment under Family Choices to 54 new centres, Premier Greg Selinger announced today.
Also under Budget 2011, the province is investing an extra $21.3 million for these child-care centres, 2,100 newly funded spaces, including infant spaces, and improved pensions for child-care workers, the premier said.
"This is an historic investment in child care by any Manitoba government," he said. "When we launched Family Choices in 2008, we committed to create 35 new child-care centres and fund 6,500 more spaces in five years. With today's announcement we've not only hit our original commitment of 35 centres, we have now surpassed it by 19 and have reached almost 90 per cent of our commitment on spaces."
- 46 capital projects over the next two years for 25 new centres and the revitalization of 21 others;
- more spaces, including 2,100 funded spaces, and enhanced funding for 400 nursery school spaces in 2011-12;
- funding for pensions, including a new two per cent incentive for workers who want to join the pension plan, and funding for the employers' share; and
- new funding to centres for rent and other operating costs.
More than half of the 2,100 spaces receiving funds for the first time will be new and the province will focus funding on infant spaces, Selinger said.
Of the 46 capital projects, 15 centres are at school sites and 31 are located in other community sites.
"This past fall, a groundbreaking pension plan for early-learning and child-care workers was introduced to encourage people to enter and stay in the field," the premier said. "Today's announcement builds on this measure by providing new two-year funding to cover two per cent of the employee's share, which will encourage people to join this important plan. This means that workers have to contribute just two per cent of their pay to get an eight per cent pension contribution.
"With today's announcement, our government will have increased the number of funded child-care spaces by more than 80 per cent since 1999 and the child-care budget has increased by 157 per cent," said Selinger. "This commitment by our government to an historic expansion of the child-care system is critical for families to work and attend education or training programs, as well as for the well-being of children and the strength of our economy."