Prime minister in Winnipeg for affordable daycare announcement

In Winnipeg to speak at a Liberal party fundraising event, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a stop at the south branch of the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg on March 3 for an important childcare announcement.

Alongside Premier Heather Stefanson and a collection of local officials, Trudeau revealed that as of April 2 Manitoban families requiring daycare will pay a maximum of $10 per day, on average, for regulated childcare services.

This rate will apply for all children ages 12 and under who attend daycare during regular hours.

The announcement comes three years ahead of the federal government’s target to ensure that every Canadian family has access to $10 per day childcare by 2026.

“Today is a great reminder of what we can do when we all work together,” Trudeau said. “It’s part of our plan to make life more affordable for the middle class and for people working hard to join it… We’re seeing results now in Manitoba and across the country. Families in nearly half of the provinces and territories are now benefitting from an average of $10 per day or less. That includes both Quebec and the Yukon, who’ve led the country in delivering affordable childcare.”

The remaining provinces and territories, he added, have already cut childcare costs in half and are on track to reach the $10 per day benchmark by March 2026.

“Our government recognizes that in order for Manitobans to be able to participate in the workforce, upgrade their skills and training, support their families, and play an active role in the growth of our communities and economy, access to affordable and high-quality childcare is essential,” said Stefanson. “Our government is proud to work in partnership with Canada to strengthen and grow Manitoba’s early learning and childcare system in all communities of our province.”

Rhonda Kenning is the director of Growing Minds Childcare Centre Inc., which has three locations across Niverville.

“We are absolutely thrilled with today’s announcement,” Kenning says. “It not only provides much-needed financial relief to our families when the economy has been so difficult, but it demonstrates that our federal and provincial governments are actually taking measures to finally recognize the crucial role that quality childcare provides to the economy.”

Kenning says that, for some families, this announcement will result in significant financial savings.

The current rate at Growing Minds for preschool children is $20.80 per day. Parents of infants pay $30 per day. These will all be reduced to $10 per day in just under a month’s time.

Parents of school-age children requiring before- and after-school care pay $10.30 per day now, so their savings will be nominal.

According to Kenning, there are also families who have been receiving government daycare subsidies which already bring their daily daycare costs to under $10. For these families, nothing will change.

What parents without subsidies need to realize, though, is that the $10 per day fee will only apply to regular school-day schedules.

“[Families] will still be required to pay full fees on in-service and school holidays, which means $20.80 per day,” says Kenning.

In August 2021, Manitoba entered into an agreement with the federal government to improve early learning and childcare across the province. As a result, the feds committed approximately $1.2 billion in dedicated funding over a five-year period.

Canada-wide, this federal childcare investment will come to approximately $30 billion over five years.

Due to this intergovernmental collaboration, Manitoba has set a goal to create 23,000 new childcare spaces across the province.

As well, they hope to encourage the addition of 1,000 childcare assistants and 2,000 new early childhood educators to the workforce. The province recently invested almost $37 million into establishing a wage grid for more equitable pay rates.

According to the federal government, delivering high-quality affordable daycare across the country is just good economics.

“TD Economics has pointed to a range of studies that have shown that for every dollar spent on early childhood education, the broader economy receives between $1.50 and $2.80 in return,” reads a governmental press release. “And in Quebec, affordable childcare alone has raised the province’s GDP by 1.7 percent.”

Brenda Sawatzky, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Niverville Citizen