We are a group of parents, childcare providers and allies working towards a fully accessible, publicly-funded, non-profit system of comprehensive and high quality childcare with worthy wages and good working conditions for childcare staff.
Specifically, we are organizing both in response to and against the attacks on our childcare sector that have arisen during the COVID-19 pandemic, and those we foresee with the KPMG report commissioned by the Pallister government, expected to be released this summer.
We are calling on Manitobans to join us in speaking against these cuts, and to push government to establish the childcare sector we all need.
We are calling on the Government of Manitoba to
Immediately backfill parent fees lost because of the COVID-19 pandemic due to
- Centre closures
- Reduced numbers due to social distancing guidelines
- Reduced numbers due to families reorienting to work from home guidelines, and other decisions due to the COVID-19 pandemic
- Provide the funding that centres had planned to fundraise in their 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 budgets
- Provide dollars needed for PPE and increased sanitation practices.
In the interests of improving on our sector towards a fully accessible, publicly-funded, non-profit system of comprehensive and high-quality childcare with worthy wages and good working conditions for childcare staff, we are calling on the Government of Manitoba to immediately:
- Increase operating grants for licensed childcare programs by a minimum of 8% to replace funds lost when operating grants were frozen four years ago.
- Reimplement the annual increase for all operating grants at a minimum 2% per year.
- Maintain or increase the number of licensed, non-profit childcare spaces in Manitoba by committing to honouring and maintaining all existing operating grants until at least 2023/2024, regardless of whether centres are closed or operating at reduced levels due to COVID-19. This will allow centres to adjust to new guidelines around maximum numbers and sanitization which are increasing costs per child; and avoid passing on these costs to parents and caregivers. It will also ensure that the sector does not incur additional losses in spaces at a time when more are needed due to school closures.
- Immediately fund childcare spaces that centres have already created in response to government request, but that remain unsupported by operating grants.
- Ensure that childcare workers are well -compensated while moving towards universal access for parents.
- Ensure that the Inclusion Support Staffing Grant is maintained as part of temporary COVID-19 childcare plans. Children with existing funding should not have to reapply during crisis situations.
- Act in good faith when investing federal contributions for childcare by using these dollars to support and strengthen non-profit, licensed options in Manitoba.