Manitoba looking at childcare options as parents start returning to work
A daycare centre is pictured in a file photo.
WINNIPEG -- The Manitoba government said there is space for childcare in the province for parents who are beginning to return to work.
Speaking during a news conference Wednesday morning, the Premier Brian Pallister said there are resources out there for parents who will be returning to work as restrictions on non-essential businesses are eased starting May 4.
“We have about one in five spaces that are available right now, so there is some additional capacity there clearly while schools are out,” Pallister said. “There's a bit of additional capacity on babysitting, so there's that as well. There are resources out there.”
Most childcare services and daycare centres were suspended by the province on March 20 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The province has previously announced $18 million to allow early childhood educators to open up smaller child care services in their communities, or out of their homes to assist frontline workers who needed childcare due to COVID-19.
However, the Manitoba NDP said the measures don’t go far enough.
In a statement sent Wednesday afternoon, Lisa Naylor, NDP MLA for Wolseley, said the measures still leaves parents with questions.
"Will they have access to child care if they have to return to work or will their fees be covered if they still must work from home? Will parents’ jobs be protected if they must stay home to care for their children? Throughout this pandemic the Pallister government has failed to give parents and child care centres the supports they need,” Naylor’s statement said.
Pallister told reporters the province is making efforts to increase the number of childcare spaces.
“We are taking steps on many fronts to partner in the development and, in fact, in the growth of daycare centers and daycare facilities in our province,” the premier said.
-With files from CTV’s Rachel CrowSpreadingWings