Childcare Is Essential Town Hall: Online, Thursday, June 25

On Thursday, June 25 we held an online Town Hall on childcare. You can watch the video above (captions included) and you can click here to read the transcript.

Rebecca LaRiviere, Early Childhood Educator and Parent

Laura Burla, Director, St. James Montessori Childcare Centre Director and parent (Winnipeg)
Jennifer Collette, Chairperson, Busy Nest Day Care (Morris)
Dr Susan Prentice, Child Care Coalition of Manitoba, and the University of Manitoba
Carmen Smith, Chair, Freight House Early Learning and Care (Winnipeg)


REBECCA LARIVIERE is Red River Metis from Treaty 1 and an Early Childhood Educator (ECEIII). She specializes in training, supporting and mentoring caregivers. Her interests focus on bridging traditional Indigenous childrearing practices with modern child development research. Rebecca works passionately to empower families and caregivers by building on individual gifts and strengths and helping them to reclaim the practices that developed strong, resilient children for generations.  

LAURA BURLA is an ECE III with specialization in Studies in Aboriginal Child Care. She is the executive director of St. James Montessori, a non-profit childcare centre in Winnipeg. She has been in the field of early learning and childcare (ELCC) for the last 21 years, and is part of both provincial and national ELCC networks and projects dedicated to the advancement of accessible, affordable and high quality for the sector. She is also a parent, whose son attended early learning and childcare from infant through school age.

DR. SUSAN PRENTICE is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Manitoba, where she specializes in feminist sociology, family policy and childcare. She has worked in the field of childcare policy for over 35 years. She is a long-term participant in childcare advocacy, and is currently a member of the Child Care Coalition of Manitoba. Her two grown children thrived in family home and centre-based childcare.

JENNIFER COLLETTE is passionate about childcare and quality learning for all. She has worked in the education field for ten years while maintaining her role as Board Chair for a childcare facility in Morris, Manitoba. Jennifer recently participated as a speaker in the #support26k walk in Winnipeg and has made appearances on CTV Winnipeg and CJOB with Charles Adler to advocate about the current issues that are affecting childcare in the province of Manitoba. She currently lives in Morris with her husband Richard, where they are raising their daughters, Violet and Lillian.

CARMEN SMITH is a Cree woman from Chemawawin First Nation in Treaty 5 territory. She is a mother of six children, ages 4-26. Carmen is a lifelong educator and community volunteer. She currently teaches an aboriginal language in an inner-city school. Carmen has been involved in the childcare system for many years, as a parent, volunteer, employee, member of the board. She is currently the chairperson of the board at Freight House Early Learning & Care in Winnipeg. She is passionate about improving the lives of all members of the community — especially our children.