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Early learning and child care in Manitoba – A plan for action

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Government of Canada & Government of Manitoba
government document
Publication Date: 
21 Dec 2021

Excerpted from action plan

Manitoba continues with efforts to modernize early learning and child care (ELCC), building a stronger and more responsive system to ensure high-quality, affordable and accessible services for all families and to advance Manitoba’s economic growth by supporting parents to participate in the workforce.


On August 9, 2021, the Governments of Canada and Manitoba signed the new Canada-Manitoba, Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement. The agreement will provide $1.2 billion in federal funding over the next five years to reduce licensed child care costs for families to an average out-of-pocket cost for parents of $10/day and to expand access to more quality, inclusive child care spaces for children zero to six years of age.

Throughout fall 2021, Manitoba and Canada worked towards finalizing Manitoba’s Action Plan, released on December 21, 2021. The action plan initiatives focus on the unique needs of Manitoba families, communities and child care providers and provides the building blocks to inform further development of these and other initiatives through consultation and engagement with parents and the early learning and child care sector.

The Canada-Manitoba, Canada-Wide ELCC Agreement, is the one of three federal allocations under the two Agreements intended to promote growth and stability of the regulated child care sector. Along with the extension of the Canada-Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care Agreement that includes one-time workforce funding, the agreements’ action plans will inform Manitoba’s roadmap for transformation of the current ELCC system. The extended Canada-Manitoba ELCC agreements are in the final stages of negotiations and will be shared here when they are available.

Key Priorities

The agreements between Canada and Manitoba establish a partnership to continue working towards implementing an accessible system capable of growing to meet the needs of all families looking for a licensed child care space, prioritizing those that are higher in need.  This systemic transformation is based on a common set of interrelated principles:

  • Accessibility - Improved responsiveness of the early learning and child care system through greater flexibility in operational hours, expansion of child care spaces and choice.
  • Affordability - Balanced affordability of child care fees based on income levels  with financial assistance for providers through a modernized, equitable funding approach
  • Quality - Improved child care services through attraction and retention of quality child care educators including training, curriculum redevelopment for child care programming, a certification process that supports career laddering and enhanced wages.
  • Inclusivity - Enhanced adaptable curriculum framework to integrate Indigenous, cultural and community perspectives ensuring vulnerable communities – including children with disabilities and children needing enhanced or individual supports, racialized children, children of newcomers, and official language minorities – have equitable access to regulated child care spaces.
  • Reporting - Enhanced and/or new IT business solutions to demonstrate sound potential for favourable returns on investment through on-going cost- benefit analyses of child care investments producing solid results towards a sustainable long-term funding and capacity building approach.

The principles for building an improved and modernized system will be anchored by a new legislation and policy framework promoting a foundation that will allow the flexibility to support continuous improvements to funding and targeted supports for regulated child care providers and families.