Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg - Manitoba Liberals are urging parents and early childcare education workers to get the Pallister Government to change course on a series of proposals that will gut early childhood education in Manitoba.
The Pallister PCs are proposing a series of changes to regulations that would scrap the Enhanced Nursery School Operating Grant, and take the cap off parent fees.
Dougald Lamont, Manitoba Liberal Leader and MLA for St. Boniface, said he has heard from many childcare centres that they are facing a crisis and that the PCs proposal will push centres and parents to the breaking point. In one instance, a not-for-profit childcare centre is facing a 75% cut in funding, while parent fees will go up by 100%.
Lamont said the PCs are ignoring the needs of parents, children and the economy by pushing ahead with a plan to "reform" childcare that will make it even worse.
"The PCs are going out of their way to make it harder for children to learn and for parents to get back to work. It makes no sense," said Lamont. "One of the biggest obstacles for people going back to work is a lack of affordable child care. The PCs are undermining the entire sector and making it more expensive for parents." In last year's election, Manitoba Liberals promised to move Early Childhood Education to the Department of Education, rather than the Department of Families, and to invest in new spaces to eliminate the waitlist for childcare while increasing wages. Early Childhood Educator wages have been low under the NDP and PCs alike.
Even before the pandemic hit, over half of Manitobans were $200 a month away from insolvency and the waitlist for childcare was over 16,000. Over 200,000 Manitobans registered for CERB.
Early childhood education workers can help detect learning disabilities, teach children reading and math, and make sure children aren't going hungry.
"The PCs are in denial about the reality facing thousands of parents who are struggling to keep their heads above water, even if they are both working full-time," said Lamont. "If we make early childhood education part of the education system, parents could get back to work and kids can be better prepared for school." The deadline for concerned citizens to comment is August 12, 2020, at https://reg.gov.mb.ca/detail/2937833. An account is required.