The Governments of Canada and Manitoba are providing funding to ensure Manitoba families can access affordable child care.

The two levels of government are allocating $8.1 million to support operating grants that will fund more than 3,100 early learning and child-care spaces in the province.

Federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Karina Gould and Manitoba’s Minister of Education and Early Childhood Learning, Wayne Ewasko, announced the funding on Monday, noting the money will help 177 facilities in Manitoba.

“The Manitoba government is committed to strengthening the full continuum of child-care services for Manitoba families,” Ewasko said in a news release.

As part of this expansion, the Manitoba government is investing $4.8 million in operating grants that will fund 2,294 child-care spaces for children aged seven to 12.

The province noted that this funding will improve financial stability for facilities that provide school-aged programming, and make sure low and middle-income parents can access affordable care.

The ministers also announced that $3.3 million will be allocated from the Canada-Manitoba Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement. This money will fund 815 child-care spaces for infants and children under the age of seven, including 68 infant spaces, 549 preschool spaces, and 198 nursery spaces.

“Every child deserves the best start in life,” Gould said.

“The additional licensed child-care spaces allow more children and families in Manitoba to access high-quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive early learning and child care, no matter where they live.”

According to Gould and Ewasko, these 3,100 child-care spaces are currently in place.

“These investments provide operating grant funding to all early learning and child-care facilities with spaces on the current waitlist,” said Ewasko.

“This funding will support and build the capacity of existing child-care facilities across Manitoba to provide affordable, high-quality programming while working toward our goal to create 23,000 new and newly funded full-time regulated care spaces by 2026.”