Why some parents are frustrated over $10-a-day childcare in Manitoba
Parents are citing concerns over the pledge for $10-a-day childcare in Manitoba as certain children are excluded from the rate at certain times of the year.
Earlier in March, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Manitoba would achieve an average of $ 10/day childcare by April 2 – three years ahead of schedule for the federal government’s early learning and childcare bilateral agreements.
This means that starting next month, families will pay a maximum of $10 a day for children aged 12 and under at regulated non-profit childcare centres.
Now, some Manitoba parents are questioning why the plan doesn’t include $10-a-day childcare for every kid at all times.
With this agreement, childcare will be $10 a day on regular school days for those 12 and under. However, on in-service days and holidays, childcare for school-aged children will increase to $20.80, even though younger kids need a higher staff ratio.
Children in Grade 1 and older are considered school-age, while those in kindergarten are considered preschoolers.
“The challenge for families, and rightfully so, is that your child doesn’t stop being a child at the age of six,” said Jodie Kehl, executive director of the Manitoba Childcare Association, in an interview on Thursday.
“So families are still going to need licenced care on non-school days. They can’t leave their children at home. So families are feeling frustrated that they feel like they’re being slighted because they’re not included under the umbrella of this federal agreement.”
In a statement, Education and Early Childhood Learning Minister Wayne Ewasko said that beginning on April 2, the $10-a-day fee will apply to school-aged children attending regulated childcare facilities before school, at lunch and after school. He added that families may also be eligible for childcare subsidies for children 12 weeks old to 12 years old, which could bring the costs down to $2 a day.
“Our government achieved a maximum parent fee of $10 per day for children three years ahead of the 2026 commitment,” he said.
“Additionally, this is a five-year agreement and we are always looking at ways to make childcare more affordable in Manitoba.”
Kehl noted that she is thankful that the Manitoba government has invested some of its own money into the school-aged sector over the last few years.
“I would commend the government for recognizing that they are trying to include the school-aged component of our system in Manitoba so that the staff and children are benefitting through some of the investments,” she said.
Kehl said this agreement is just one of many steps needed to build a high-quality, affordable, inclusive and flexible childcare system in Manitoba.
- With files from CTV’s Kimberly Rio Wertman and The Canadian Press.
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