Election Forum on Early Learning and Child Care Draws Big Crowd!

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.

Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care Commission Final Report


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.

Market Competitive Salary Guideline Scale 2015-2016

The Liberals have  made a formal announcement on child care.   Here is a link to their full platform:

Liberal Party Commitment to Child Care

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:

2015 Child Care Fees in Canadian Cities

The Election Forum on Early Learning and Child Care was filmed and will be available for viewing shortly.

CBC News Report on the Election Forum

Categories: News

Posted by Jodie Kehl at 3:17 pm