Manitoba's Families Minister is hoping to make some changes and keep others the same when it comes to child care.

New legislation being brought forward by Minister Rochelle Squires is proposing parent fees for licenced child care providers accenting the grants to be frozen at their current rates for the next three years. She is also vying for more flexibility in the early learning child care sector.

“Bill 47, the early learning and child-care act, would create more equity in the system and expand supports that better meet the diverse needs of families, especially those most in need of early learning and child-care services," the Minister says in a statement.

She says the goal is to help women get back to work, saying "we know that women have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, and many of them are out of work."

Squires does not want increasing fees to be a barrier to get back to work.

"We know that many families have had their pocketbooks and bottom line impacted because of COVID-19."

Within the month, the results of a survey commissioned by the province will be revealed, looking at child-care modernization.

Squires says the new bill would allow for daycares to operate at non-traditional times, allowing parents who do not work typical 9-5 jobs to find care.

The minister says:

  • early learning and child-care services should ensure the health, safety, development and wellbeing of children
  • access to early learning and child-care services should enhance the economic opportunities available to parents
  • early learning and child-care services should be available on a continuum that is responsive to the diverse needs of families
  • promoting inclusion and respect, and accommodating diversity should be inherent in early learning and child-care services 
  • public funding should promote fiscal responsibility and the sustainability of early learning and child-care services

With the proposed bill, Squires wants to see social, emotional, physical and cognitive development included in early learning.

“Our government appreciates the skills, knowledge and dedication of early childhood educators and child-care assistants in providing high-quality care."

The Minister wants people to enter the workforce faster, hoping to streamline the early-learning certification process. Currently, child care centres and home child care are the two recognized child care sectors. Squires is hoping to broaden the language to "providers." This would mean other organizations providing early learning could be considered for a grant, such as getting short child care at a dance centre for the siblings of children in the class. Which non-traditional, licenced organizations will be included have not been established.