Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/11/2014 (1915 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Once again Manitobans are being told by think-tanks and union-funded lobbies Manitoba is comparable to Quebec when it comes to the cost of child care.
This argument, often made by well-educated people, however, compares apples to oranges. As it currently stands in Quebec, parents pay $7.30 per day, per child in actual costs to be used at a centre of their choice.
This is not the case in Manitoba.
Here, subsidies are only allowed to be used at not-for-profit centres. Apples, oranges, smoke, mirrors, call it what you will. It is not only not comparable, it takes away choice for parents and caregivers who only want what they believe is best for their child. This promotes a system of inequality for children living with disabilities, physical, and/or intellectual.
It's time non-profits finally fessed up to the truth so often ignored: Like it or not, as taxpayers we are all paying for child care. When the province commits $2.8 million every year over five years to create more not-for-profit spaces, this translates to the public financing the building, operation costs and the ongoing subsidy.
On the other hand, a private centre costs taxpayers nothing beyond the cost of pushing paper across the province's desks. Private does not mean a lower standard of care; in fact, we must meet all the same licensing requirements as other centres, and because we are private, we work harder to service our families. Private means built by entrepreneurs and business people intent on creating a better, sustainable child-care model of the highest quality.
We are not against non-profit child-care centres. What we are against is the public being told private is a dirty word in child care. What we stand for is parents being allowed to choose where they send their children, subsidies not being denied to children who need additional supports when applying to a private centre and providing an open, transparent and accountable child-care model based on sustainable principles with zero costs (upfront or hidden) to the taxpayers of Manitoba.
The province uses the ever-growing wait-list number to manipulate its agenda. The number varies. It is higher (11,000) when they want to throw taxpayer dollars at the problem and lower (8,000) when they want us to think they are doing a bang-up job of fixing child care in Manitoba. One family, one child, waiting on a list that never seems to end is too many.
Recently, MoneySense published an article suggesting there are better ways to solve the cost of child care. The author, David McDonald, along with Martha Friendly, proposes "government can simply relax its regulations on how many workers are needed for each child or lessen the education requirements for child-care workers" making it easier for women to re-enter the workforce. "When you make child care more affordable, you give women a real choice on whether they want to work or not."
The irony is the majority of early-childhood educators are, in fact, women.
Is this really the answer for Canadian families? We should lower the bar? Do we want less support for our children to save staffing costs? Do we want less education required for people in charge of our children during the precious early years we know are crucial in child development?
At the end of the day, there are plenty of opportunities for private business to assist the government with the child-care crisis. It's a matter of the province being willing to work with entrepreneurs and small business.
With our current deficit and crumbling infrastructure, does the province really need to be in the business of child care? This NDP government is notoriously against privatization. But privatization and business solve the child-care crisis completely tax-free for Manitobans. There are plenty of business-minded people banging at the province's door to help with this issue. The government needs to realize business is their best partner to solve this ongoing crisis and support instead of thwart the efforts of child-care centres chipping away at a growing waiting list one family at a time.
Megan Turner is a co-founder of a private preschool in Winnipeg.