Childcare is not a luxury – it’s a necessity. The COVID-19 pandemic has only increased the social and economic challenges faced by Manitoban families, particularly those where parents are unable to return to work due to child care needs.
Today, the Honourable Jim Carr, Special Representative for the Prairies, on behalf of Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Ahmed Hussen, together with the Honourable Rochelle Squires, Manitoba Minister of Families, announced nearly $4.4 million for Manitoba’s new COVID-19 Response Block Grant.
The COVID-19 Response Block Grant will support 230 regulated, non-profit early learning and child care facilities impacted by COVID-19. It is provided through the 2020-21 Canada-Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, which delivers over $15 million for early learning and child care investments in Manitoba.
Funding from the Early Learning and Child Care Agreement was also used to provide $2.4 million to eligible child care facilities in September 2020 through the separate COVID-19 Response Grant.
In addition to these funds, the province of Manitoba provided $70 million to all child care centres through provincial operating grants in the latter part of 2020. A total of 927 facilities benefitted from the first set of COVID-19 response payments, from both federal and provincial funding.
“Parents in Manitoba and across Canada are eager to get back to work, but without quality child care, many will face barriers to re-entering the labour market. Our government is committed to ensuring safe and accessible child care spaces are available to parents who need it, as part of our commitment to a strong, inclusive economic recovery.”
– The Honourable Jim Carr, Special Representative for the Prairies
“Every child should have the best possible start in life. Ensuring accessible, affordable, high-quality, and inclusive child care is key to ensuring Canadian parents can return to work and our economy can recover from this crisis. Our government is committed to supporting the child care sector through this pandemic and build a path for a Canada-wide early learning and child care system, where no Manitoban family is left behind.”
– The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
“Child care centres play a vital role in Manitoba’s COVID-19 response by providing affordable, accessible child care to essential workers and others as we continue to work together to recover from its impact. The funding we are announcing today will ensure centres that have experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic can continue to provide quality child care opportunities, especially for families who are most in need.”
– The Honourable Rochelle Squires, Manitoba Minister of Families
The federal government entered into bilateral agreements with all provinces and territories to provide them with $1.2 billion over three years for early learning and child care programs, starting in 2017-18. An additional $400 million is being provided to provinces and territories this year through one-year agreements.
These important investments in early and learning and child care helped to create just over 40,000 more affordable child care spaces nationally prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Manitoba received $15.6 million per year in federal funding to enhance and expand early learning and child care services in higher need communities throughout the province, with a focus on increased quality, accessibility, affordability, flexibility and inclusivity.
In total with the investments in 2020-2021, the federal government will have provided Manitoba with a total of approximately $62.4 million over four years for early learning and child care.
As part of the Fall Economic Statement, the Government of Canada re-confirmed its commitment to create a Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care system, beginning with a federal secretariat to support this work, new investments to support early childhood educators and continued early learning and child care investments announced in Budgets 2016 and 2017.