Our NDP plan for child care: 12,000 new spaces, lower fees, more training and better wages

Our NDP government understands that affordable, quality child care is important for working and middle-class Manitoba families.

It gives families the option to go back to work or to upgrade their education, while their children are looked after in a safe, educational environment with qualified staff.

That’s why we have committed to building a universally accessible child care system with 12,000 new spaces, lower fees, more training and better wages.

Creating a universally accessible child care system in Manitoba

To make sure every Manitoba family has the child care they need, our government is looking at the system as a whole.

We commissioned a report to guide us in creating a sustainable, high-quality future for child care with affordable fees, trained staff, quality curriculum, and better access in under-served neighbourhoods.

Based on their report, our long-term strategy includes:

  • exploring making child care more affordable for families by implementing a subsidy and a sliding scale on child-care fees;

  • ensuring that child care centres continue to hire and retain the best workers by phasing in a provincial wage scale, beginning Sept. 1, 2016;

  • working with colleges and universities to double training opportunities for child care workers with full-time college programs, workplace training and expanded dual-credit programs in high schools; and

  • investing in training supports for low-income indigenous and newcomer Manitobans.

So far, our NDP government has increased wages for frontline child care staff by 54%, and we created the first provincewide pension plan for child care workers outside Quebec.

We made it law that all new schools built in Manitoba must include a child care centre. In the future we will also expand child care centres into new housing developments, colleges, universities, and other public buildings.

This is a drastically different approach from Brian Pallister’s Conservatives. In fact, when Pallister was a cabinet minister in the last Conservative government, he helped eliminate funding for the Manitoba Child Care Association, cut millions from child care centres, and doubled child care fees (Manitoba Budget, 1993).

  • One daycare director said about the Conservatives: "They’ve crippled child care. Manitoba as the leader in child care died today." (Wpg. Sun, March 16/93).

And so far, Liberal leader Rana Bokhari has focused her policy on tax breaks for big business—which would mean less money to invest in frontline services like child care.

Keeping child care fees the lowest in Canada outside Québec

A recent report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives showed that our NDP government has kept parent fees the lowest in Canada outside of Québec, an average of $517 per month.

Average fees in Toronto, on the other hand, are $1,333 per month.

Recently, we’ve heard calls from Brian Pallister’s Conservatives to turn to privatized, for-profit child care centres.

But fees in for-profit, private child care centres are often more than double what families pay in public centres. That means in private centres, your space could cost over $1,400 per month.

Rana Bokhari is also moving her party to the right, away from the traditional Liberal values of Dr. Jon Gerrard and towards the Conservative’s agenda of privatization. Manitobans don’t want or need another conservative leader.

Our NDP government is committed to high-quality, universally accessible child care here in Manitoba to support families, strengthen our economy, and give our children the strongest possible start.