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Manitoba government moves ahead on commission to address more universally accessible early learning and child care

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Publication Date: 
19 Mar 2015
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News Release

The Manitoba government is taking the next step to launch a commission to redesign the province's early learning and child-care system and create more universally accessible care for Manitoba families who need it, Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross announced today.

"I am pleased to announce that Kathleen Flanagan, principal at Kathleen Flanagan and Associates Inc. of Prince Edward Island, has been selected to be the commissioner of this important work," Minister Irvin-Ross said. "The commission's review of Manitoba's early learning and child-care system will provide us with key advice and options."

Flanagan will team up with Jane Beach, principal of Jane Beach and Associates in Victoria, B.C., to complete the Early Learning and Child-care Commission's work, which will include analyzing Manitoba's current system. The commission will develop options for redesign in the context of universally accessible, licensed, early learning and child care for Manitoba families who need and want it, the minister said, adding it is expected a final report from the commission will be submitted by January 2016.

"Manitoba has long been a leader with its early learning and child-care programs and has made progress on a planned approach to growth with their multi-year strategies," said Flanagan. "We look forward to helping the Manitoba government explore options to address challenges and issues with the early learning and child-care system."

Minister Irvin-Ross said the Manitoba government created the commission in response to feedback from parents, the child-care sector and other stakeholders during consultations that led to the new Family Choices: Manitoba's Plan to Expand Early Learning and Child Care, announced May 1, 2014.

Under the new Family Choices multi-year plan, the Manitoba government is on track for meeting its first-year goal to fund 800 new spaces this fiscal year and has:

  • established two new Family Choices capital building fund intakes - one for school-based projects and one for community-based projects to build new and expand existing centres to create more spaces for families and communities;
  • partnered with Manitoba Jobs and the Economy to pilot a self-employment project for family child care that will increase the number of licensed, home-based child-care spaces for families and communities;
  • increased annual operating grants by two per cent effective this past Jan. 1 in support of wages/incomes for the sector;
  • provided funding for more workplace training at Red River College for an additional 30 early childhood education students (ECE);
  • provided funding to offer more substitute grants so that existing workers can participate in workplace training while continuing to receive their full salary;
  • increased the annual training grant to $400 for child-care assistants, ECEs and family child-care providers working to advance their education and certification; and
  • worked with community stakeholders and experts to further examine recruitment and retention strategies and make recommendations for future planning.

The minister noted that since 1999, the Manitoba government has laid a solid foundation to expand early learning and child care including:

  • nearly tripling annual funding for child care to more than $152 million, an increase of more than 184 per cent;
  • funding more than 13,900 child-care spaces, an increase of over 89 per cent;
  • establishing a first-ever capital building fund with funding commitments to build new centres and expand existing centres;
  • increasing wages by nearly 60 per cent and introducing a provincewide pension plan for child-care workers;
  • introducing age-appropriate curricula and enhanced quality programming; and
  • keeping Manitoba child care the most affordable in Canada outside of Quebec.
Entered Date: 
25 Mar 2015
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