Manitoba has signed on to a federal plan to provide daycare at an average cost of $10 a day in regulated child-care spaces starting next year.
Federal Families, Children and Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen and Manitoba Families Minister Rochelle Squires announced the agreement on Monday.
“This is the result of really hard work on both sides — the result of frank conversations, compromises, making sure that we’re listening to each other, making sure we learned about the special circumstances of the early-learning and child-care sector in Manitoba,” Hussen said.
Parents of young children, particularly women, have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and now that much of the economy is reopening, they are facing “the impossible choice of either staying at home to take care of their kids or going back to work and paying very high child-care fees and fighting for those hard-to-get child-care spaces,” he said.
The plan will cut costs for families by 50 per cent for children up to six years old in regulated child care by the end of the year, the two governments said in a news release.
It will also create another 23,000 full-time regulated care spaces by the end of the 2025-26 fiscal year, the news release said. An additional 1,700 extended-hour spaces will also be created, for parents needing child care in the evenings and on weekends.
Under the plan, the federal government promises to spend $1.2 billion to fund early learning and child care in Manitoba over the next five years.
In addition to cutting costs for parents, the plan also aims to create culturally inclusive child care for all children, particularly Indigenous children, Hussen said.
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