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Opportunities for those in search of child care accommodations are on the horizon, Minister responsible for Status of Women Cathy Cox says.
A report released by the Child Care Coalition of Manitoba in February called on the province to instate universal child care, after finding increased wait lists for licensed care and low wages for early childhood educators. Investment in child care is a "pre-condition for women’s equality" and "a labour-intensive green industry that provides meaningful jobs for women, while also supporting parental employment," the report says.
Cox, who is also the minister of sport, culture and heritage, spoke at the Manitoba Legislative Building as part of an event commemorating International Women’s Day (March 8).
"It's at events such as this that we can take stock of our collective progress towards gender equality, to celebrate acts of courage and determination by women around the world, and to continue to call for change," she said.
When asked how the province should approach issues outlined in the child care report, Cox said the 2020 Manitoba budget would respond to those concerns.
"I would say wait and see what’s happening in our budget that we’re going to be presenting on Wednesday," she said. "There’s going to be opportunities for women, as I said, especially with regards to expanding daycares in places where women work."
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Manitoba's child care centre development tax credit, which was introduced in November 2018 by Finance Minister Scott Fielding and Families Minister Heather Stefanson, is provided to corporations that create child care spaces. Cox referred to the program as an example of how the province had "made huge improvements already in child care."
However, last month's report criticized the tax credit program as "regressive," and suggested funding instead be reassigned to charitable not-for-profit associations.
When asked about concerns from early childhood educators that workers were not receiving a fair wage in Manitoba, Cox said the province was "working towards equality all the time."
"We’re looking to ensure that women have these opportunities to work," she said.
Malak Abas Reporter
Malak Abas is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.
The Manitoba government has announced a new award program to recognize women who have made the province a better place.
The Empower Women 20/20 awards were announced Monday by Minister for the Status of Women Cathy Cox. The program will also commemorate the 100th anniversary of the election of Edith Rogers, the first woman to join the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba.
Nominations are now open, and can include women working and those from Manitoba's history.
The 20 winners will be announced Sept. 20-26, in concurrence with national Gender Equality Week. Winners will be selected by the Manitoba Women's Advisory Council.