Families in the St. Andrews area will have greater access to the affordable, licensed child care with the construction of a new 40-space centre near the local school, Housing and Community Development Minister Peter Bjornson, on behalf of Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross announced today.
“By increasing child care options, more parents in the region will be able to go out to work, attend school, support their families and thrive in their communities,” Minister Irvin-Ross said. “We are funding more licensed child-care spaces in Manitoba because it’s a priority for families.”
The minister said the new spaces will be created with an investment of almost $2 million for a
stand-alone child-care centre, to be located next to St. Andrews School. Construction is expected to be completed in mid-2015.
“The board of directors of St. Andrews Child Care is very excited to bring licensed child care to the St. Andrews area,” said Shelly Marques, director, St. Andrews Child Care Inc. “The addition of 32 preschool and eight infant spaces will definitely have a positive impact on the community. This will complement our Rivercrest location and allow us to continue serving families in the communities between Winnipeg and Selkirk.”
Provincial legislation now requires child-care centres to be included in schools when a new school is built or is undergoing major renovations.
The budget for child care in Manitoba is more than $152 million, which reflects growth of more than 184 per cent since 1999, the minister said. There are more than 660 licensed centres across Manitoba, with almost half located in schools, and more than 400 licensed home-based child-care homes.
Manitoba maintains the second-lowest regulated child-care fees in Canada, the minister said.
The Manitoba government recently launched Family Choices 2014, a new five-year plan to create more high-quality child care for Manitoba families including:
investing in more than 5,000 new and newly funded spaces;
continuing to build and expand at least 20 early learning and child-care centres in schools with $25 million in additional funding;
supporting higher wages for early childhood educators through regular operating grant increases, including a two per cent increase for wages starting in January 2015;
developing a special, new wage-enhancement grant specifically to support long-term early childhood educators working in centres;
increasing supports for licensed, home-based child-care providers;
improving the online registry and child-care website to make them more parent-friendly; and
establishing a commission on early learning and child care to look at ways to redesign Manitoba’s system to better meet the needs of families and guide future plans.