Provincial Budget 2015: A boost for child care

The Government of Manitoba presented the provincial budget 2015-2016 on Thursday, April 30, 2015.  The Finance Minister, Hon. Greg Dewar, said this about child care in his budget speech:

Budget 2015 continues to move Manitoba toward a truly universally accessible child-care system by:

  • investing in 900 newly funded child-care spaces
  • supporting higher wages for child-care workers; and 
  • building and expanding child-care centres.

MCCA supports the announcement to fund  more spaces and improve  compensation for Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) , Child Care Assistants, and Family Child Care Providers.   As of December 31, 2014 there are 11,105 children province wide   on the online child care registry and in need of a licensed child care space.

Support for higher wages is essential as most child care centres cannot afford to  fairly compensate ECEs at the  current market competitive salary range, which is from $18.00 – $22.50 per hour for  a graduate with a  2 year diploma or a degree.

Source:   Market Competitive Salary Guideline Scale for Early Learning and Child Care Programs 2014- 2015:  MCSGS 2014-2015

The minimum starting wage  for an ECE in Manitoba has been $15.50 an hour since  2009.

The province controls both parent fees and operating grants for licensed facilities, which means an annual funding increase must be provided by government  to cover the inflationary  increases to operating costs along with a wage increase for employees.

There is a chronic, long term ECE shortage in Manitoba so not  all of the child care centres licensed by the Government of Manitoba are able to  meet the minimum standards  for trained staff.   A very successful provincial ECE training strategy has led to more ECE graduates in recent years, but has not solved the staff shortage.   Unfortunately, there is no system to track turnover of ECEs, which makes effective problem solving difficult.    Anecdotally, it seems ECEs leave the child care system because they can no longer afford to work in it, especially after becoming a parent and having to find and pay for their own child’s care.  In addition, there are  now more  employment opportunities in other sectors for someone with a post secondary credential in early childhood education. For example, the average maximum paid by school divisions for an ECE working as an Educational Assistant is $19.25/hour.

MCCA has been calling on the Government of Manitoba to fund market competitive salaries for the child care workforce since 2007.

Details on how the new funding for child care will be allocated to licensed facilities will be provided by the Minister of Family Services in the near future.


Categories: News

Posted by Jodie Kehl at 3:17 pm