Manitoba government releases universal childcare plan



Make Poverty History Manitoba is pleased to support a provincial plan that will make Manitoba a leader in affordable child care.

Photo: West Central Women's Resource Centre
Photo: West Central Women’s Resource Centre

The plan announced today by Premier Greg Selinger at the University of Winnipeg Student Association Day Care Centre commits to an increase of 12,000 new spaces of affordable childcare, lower fees for low income households and better wages and training for early childhood educators. Additionally there will be $25 million for capital funding for new building and expanding early education and childcare centres in schools. This fund provides a much-needed blueprint of how the government will realize its earlier announced commitment for 12,000 spaces.

Public childcare has been adopted by Make Poverty History Manitoba as one the top six priorities identified in a comprehensive community-based poverty reduction plan. Make Poverty History Manitoba’s KNOW Poverty campaign has been endorsed by over 50 community organizations. The details announced today largely meet the platform priority as put forward by the coalition, including the target of 12,000 new spaces, elimination of a two dollar per day minimum fee for low income families and better training and recruitment for early childhood educators.

The Province will eliminate a $2 dollar per day fee for low-income families. This will remove a major barrier for low income families to access childcare. Government will also increase subsidies for other families, by making childcare available on a sliding scale. They have also announced a standardized wage scale for daycare workers. This will mean more secure and better paying jobs for the people, predominately women, working in this sector.

Make Poverty History Manitoba has also advocated that priority for new spaces should be given to low income neighbourhoods. Government plans to give priority in building new spaces to high needs communities including under-served neighbourhoods, low-income and Aboriginal communities. Of 308 new spaces announced today, the majority will be in low-income and inner-city neighbourhoods.

Today’s announcement follows on the release of an report by the Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care Commission: Final Report.

Childcare is an essential piece in the struggle against poverty. Affordable, public childcare provides parents an opportunity to find work, training or education, enabling them to lift their families out of poverty. Children in single parent families are more than three times as likely to be in low income families as children not in single parent families. As well, women, Indigenous and newcomer families are most likely to be affected.

Make Poverty History Manitoba is challenging all political parties in the lead up to the 2016 Provincial Election to adopt comprehensive plans for poverty reduction, including childcare. With today’s announcement, the government has substantially met our childcare proposal. We ask all political parties in Manitoba to support the government’s commitment for universal, public, affordable childcare.

Make Poverty History Manitoba is a coalition of community organizations and individuals working to end poverty in Manitoba. We will be publishing the positions of each of the political parties plans for poverty reduction in the lead up to the 2016 election.