Our child care centres need greater support
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/10/2020 (716 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic I regularly heard how Transcona is a “child care desert” and the affect the lack of available spaces was having on our families, particularly women.
Sadly, this situation has only been made worse by the Pallister government throughout the pandemic and further cuts and privatization was only further affirmed in its latest speech from the throne.
Ninety per cent of Manitoba children receive child care through non-profit, licenced childcare facilities, yet the Pallister government has frozen funding for child care since 2016. Not only has this put a strain on childcare centres operating day to day, it has resulted in many trained, early childhood educators choosing to leave the sector.
Now with COVID-19, parents and childcare workers face a more difficult reality. Our childcare centres have faced increased costs to cover lost parent fees due to closure and have had to purchase personal protective equiptment to safely re-open for our kids. And the Pallister government has done little to help.
Within the latest speech from the throne, it appears that the government is planning to move ahead with more cuts to the childcare system.
We got to see first-hand some of their planned cuts this summer when they were posted online for ‘public consultation’ during the pandemic. These were proposed cuts to nursery school operating grants, which served to create more-affordable nursery school options for parents, and inclusion support for children with exceptional needs.
While the Pallister government continues to plan cuts to our childcare system which it has labelled as a review of the “funding model” it has spent less than one per cent of the $18 million temporary childcare grant, refused to reallocate the money to centres that are struggling and instead gave consultant KPMG double its contract, nearly $600,000, to conduct the review.
All the government’s actions have done is made it even harder to find a childcare space in the ‘desert of Transcona.’
To help families in Transcona, the government needs to end its funding freeze to child care and immediately allocate the $18 million to help centres purchase PPE, hire more staff, and increase wages for our early childhood educators who are working tirelessly on the front lines during this pandemic.
Not only would these investments help address the longstanding wait list for childcare and help our centres open safely,they will help parents, especially women, keep their jobs or re-enter the workforce once again.
I’d like to hear your thoughts on the current childcare situation in Transcona.
You can contact me at 204 594 2025 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Transcona constituency report
Nello Altomare is the NDP MLA for Transcona.