Child care is an election issue for Manitobans, judging from the full house at the Election Forum on Early Learning and Child Care, March 16, 2016. Party representatives were:
Liberal Party: Kyra Wilson
NDP Party: Kerri Irvin-Ross
Progressive Conservative Party: Ian Wishart
All representatives said they know families need more accessible child care and the number of spaces need to increase. They know there are problems in the childcare workforce that need to be addressed (shortage of ECEs and compensation ) and that infrastructure is also a problem.
Kerri-Irvin Ross often referenced the new Commission on Early Learning and Child Care Report as a roadmap to follow to strengthen the system and expand services. A key question at the forum was how the province intends to proceed on the pilot projects to move responsibility for school age child care to school divisions. School age staff want to know what is going to happen to their centres and their jobs. Irvin-Ross acknowledged details still have to be worked out in consultation with stakeholders.
She also emphasized the NDP commitment to improve salaries by funding the MCCA’s Market Competitive Salary Guideline Scale for Early Learning and Child Care Programs.
The Liberals have made a formal announcement on child care. Here is a link to their full platform:
Both the NDP and Liberals vowed to maintain not for profit services, well recognized by research as key factors affecting both quality and cost of the service.
The Conservatives haven’t yet released a formal policy on child care, however Ian Wishart acknowledged the need for more spaces, to address workforce issues, and improve on infrastructure. He mentioned choice and said the Conservatives think the not for profit model alone can’t address the shortages so their party would look to the private sector including more in home licensed child care as a solution. He was careful to add that didn’t necessarily mean corporate child care is coming to Manitoba. For a look at what parent fees are in provinces with a lot of private, for profit child care, see this recent report from the Canadian Centre on Policy Alternatives:
The Election Forum on Early Learning and Child Care was filmed and will be available for viewing shortly.
Posted by Jodie Kehl at 3:17 pm