A dream is "about to become a reality" for parents in need of child care as the provincial and federal governments join in agreement for future fee reductions for young children.
Looking larger than life standing in a YMCA/YWCA playroom's, surrounded by children's play kitchen and toys, Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen and Manitoba's Minister of Families Rochelle Squires are signing an agreement with the hopes of making childcare more affordable and accessible.
"I am talking about making more childcare spaces available for parents who need them. Spaces that you can get before your children are too old to use them. I am talking about providing early childcare educators with good pay that is reflective of their training, and their shills, and their dedication," Hussen says in a Monday morning press conference.
By the end of 2022, Hussen says many parents will see the average child care fees for children aged six or younger cut in half with subsidized care with this agreement. In two years' time, Manitoba will have a $10/day rate for regulated child care spaces. they say 23,000 new full-time regulated care spaces will come available for young children by the end of the 2025–2026 fiscal year.
This agreement includes licenced for and non-profit providers. Hussen says the intent is to grow non-profit spaces across the country but is recognizing Manitoba's child care sector encompasses many for-profit centres, which will be included in the agreement.
Along with the $1.2 billion in funding for reduced fees and increased wages, 1,700 hours of childcare spaces will be added for weekend and evening child care. By the end of the 2025-2026 fiscal year, 23,000 new full-time regulated care spaces will be added.
"We know that many low and Middle-income Manitobans need additional support so they can access safe, high-quality early learning and child care spaces so they can fully participate in our growing economy," Squires says.
Raquel Dancho, the Conservative Shadow Minister for Future Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion and MP with Kildonan—St. Paul, does not believe this agreement will come to fruition.
“The Liberals have made child care promises in eight previous elections since 1993 and they have consistently broken every one. Why should Canadians believe the Liberals now? Trudeau waited six years into his mandate to make these announcements on child care and it’s no surprise that this comes before a possible election. For almost three decades, the Liberals have broken their childcare promises," Dancho says in an emailed statement.
Squires says the pandemic has disproportionately affected women and says this child care announcement is looking to help women get back to work. Minister Scott Fielding, Manitoba's Minister of Families, says this will be transformative for many communities. He says this is a "great deal" for Manitobans. Manitoba is also looking at changing its full subsidization income limit, possibly to a net household income of around $50,000.
The CEO and President of YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg, Kent Paterson, says he is looking forward to the childcare expansion, allowing them to continue to support parents.