The Manitoba government is allocating funds to 621 early learning and child care spaces at 63 centres across the province, Families Minister Scott Fielding announced.
“We know the value of early learning and child care to a child’s social, cognitive and emotional development and how it gives them a better chance to succeed in life,” said Fielding. “We also know its importance to parents and guardians who are able to attend school or work, knowing their children are safe, cared for and learning.”
The money is part of The Canada-Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care Agreement with the federal government, announced Feb. 23. The bilateral agreement commits $47 million over three years to create up to 1,400 new and newly-funded spaces for children under the age of six. Of that, $2.3 million annually will provide new operating grant funding for 621 existing licensed spaces, which were previously created by facility-driven expansion and on a waiting list to receive subsidy. The minister said the funding ensures centres can remain affordable for Manitoba families and financially stable, so they can continue to offer child care in their communities.
Centres can expect to start receiving these funds over the next week.
The minister noted the agreement will target up to 94 newly-funded spaces at centres that offer French language programming and services. As well, 61 of today’s newly-funded spaces are in centres that support French immersion school communities.
“In distributing this money, the agreement identified we should give priority to spaces based on whether they serve higher-needs communities, such as French language, rural and northern, as well as infant and preschool spaces and early learning services for children under the age of six,” said Fielding.
The minister noted there is potential to fund additional spots in the future, as the province can identify additional spaces over the three-year period.
As part of the bilateral agreement, the province continues to determine allocation of up to 750 new spaces for children under age six that will be developed through capital projects. Work also continues to develop a broader provincial early learning and child care strategy.
Full details of The Canada-Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care Agreement are available at: https://news.gov.mb.ca/news/index.html?item=43194&posted=2018-02-23.