A politician is speaking out, saying proposed changes to childcare in Manitoba could lead to costlier care. 

St. James MLA Adrien Sala says that cuts being made to nursery school funding and the removal of a cap for new daycare spot fees will cause issues for parents in need of childcare.

"Essentially, the current Conservative government has made a proposal to change the Childcare Act, and is proposing the elimination of what is called 'enhanced nursery funding."

The funding, created by an initiative in 2006, was created to help public nursery programs across the province reduce the costs to parents.

Currently, programs that are funded charge five dollars a day, but the proposed cuts would mean the same programs would need to charge parents a minimum of $10 a day.

Another possible change could impact publicly-funded daycare centres, as the fee cap for new daycare spaces in private centres could be eliminated.

"Essentially, what that will allow them to do is expand the total number of spaces for childcare in Manitoba, but in doing that they are going to be creating a two-tiered system."

He says the increase could mean only families who can afford the new fees will have access to child care.

Sala says he does not know why the Conservative government is proposing the cuts but is fighting against them.

"There is no clarity on what is behind the reasoning," Sala says. He says that the Conservative government commissioned a report, looking at childcare changes. "That report, we are expecting, will outline a number of changes that will drive further privatization of childcare in Manitoba and will essentially serve to weaken our publicly-funded childcare system here in Manitoba."

Sala says his own daughters are enrolled in a public childcare centre and he believes that well-funded childcare centres are important for families.

"While there are a lot of really great, quality childcare providers operating businesses out of their houses, childcare is best provided in childcare centres that are well funded, that are publicly funded that allow the greatest opportunity for Manitoban families and their children."

The MLA says during the pandemic when the Conservative government thought there would be an increase in demand for new private daycares, they created an $18 million grant program, but only spent $40,000.

"Frankly, not a lot of people were looking to start home-based childcare centres in the midst of a pandemic."

Sala is hoping that the childcare changes do not go through as proposed in the fall.