Winnipeg - Manitoba Liberal Leader and MLA St. Boniface, Dougald Lamont says that the Pallister government needs to step up and fulfill its long-overdue promise to improve Child Care in Manitoba, including making sure that workers can earn enough to pay their bills.
In the PCs 2016 platform, Pallister promised to address chronic problems with low wages, staffing shortages and recruitment practices under the previous NDP government. Nearly three years later, the government has yet to act.
Lamont said he was approached by post-secondary students currently enrolled in an Early Childhood Education program (ECE) who said their current $13/hour wage is not enough for them to pay their bills. The only way students and workers can get by is with a second job, and that extra work is resulting in burnout, people quitting, and even more staff shortages.
"If we want to improve access to child care, child care workers need to make enough to live on," said Lamont. "The PCs need to wake up to the reality that people can be working full time even at a government job and still be living in poverty."
While enrolled in the ECE program, students make $13.00/hour, work extensive hours, all while trying to finish the two-year diploma program. Upon graduation, their wage will increase to $15.00 an hour.
Early childhood educators plan, organize and implement programs for infants and children up to 12 years of age. They teach music, math and literacy to children and also work with new parents on how to teach their own children.
Lamont said the government has no excuse for breaking their promise because the Federal government has increased health and social transfers to the province by $500-million per year.
"If we properly paid child care workers and workers generally - we would have better care, less turnover, and more child care spaces," said Lamont.