On November 15, 2022, the Provincial Government of Manitoba presented its Speech to the Throne. Specific to early learning and child care:
“The hallmark of a successful education system is one which provides a strong, cohesive continuum of learning from childhood to adulthood in safe, secure environments.
Transformational investments in child care, education and advanced education are critical to preparing young Manitobans for their future.
To address the need for affordable and accessible high-quality early childhood education, especially in rural communities, we are investing up to $70 million to fund up to 17 new facilities to create more than 1,200 new spaces.
To strengthen the sector and encourage more individuals to pursue a career in early childhood education, an increase to operating grants is planned for early in the new year to support increased wages.”
Under the Canada-Manitoba Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement a number of initiatives have already been introduced that are intended to support affordability, accessibility, quality (workforce) and inclusivity. No provincial investments can be replaced with any federal funding.
While transformational investments have the potential of creating a high-quality publicly managed system in the Province, it is critical that investments are holistic and balanced. Countries with well-developed early learning and child care systems have an integrated approach that promote gender equity and support labour force participation, particularly of mothers. However, essential to this, they recognize the importance of high-quality provision on the well-being and development of young children, and its role in promoting inclusion, social cohesion and equity. Meaningful and reflective investments are integral.
New spaces will be empty spaces without a workforce to provide high-quality early learning care and education.
Increases to operating grants are important to support wages for the ELCC workforce, but all operating expenses need to be supported for facilities to be financially viable. Consistent, adequate and annual increases to these grants must be prioritized.
Let’s get this right for Manitoba’s children, families and Educators.
Posted by Jodie Kehl at 12:48 pm