Provincial Investments Support Choice in Child Care for Manitoban Families

August 26, 2020

Manitoba Invests $22 Million in New Grant Programs
and Expanded Tax Credit: Stefanson

The Manitoba government is investing more than $22 million in new and reallocated funds to improve sustainability and create child care spaces for more than 1,400 children and give parents and caregivers more child care options to meet their needs, Families Minister Heather Stefanson announced today.

“Child care is critical to Manitoba’s economic recovery and growth, and we are ensuring that Manitoba families have access to quality child care that meets their needs during this unprecedented time,” said Stefanson. “We are investing millions of dollars to ensure that parents have access to child care when they need it the most – so they know their children are safely cared for as they return to work and adjust to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

As part of Manitoba’s plan to expand choice in child care, the province is investing up to $8.5 million in new programs to create child care services for hundreds of children, meet the needs of under-served families – particularly those working non-standard hours – and support the longer-term sustainability of child care providers. These programs will be delivered in partnership with the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce and Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, and include:

• up to $4 million for workplaces to offer on-site child care services for their employees, expected to create up to 800 new spaces through a $5,000-per-space start-up grant;

• up to $1.5 million in grants to home-based child care providers, to enhance their child care spaces, support financial stability and help ensure new spaces, to a maximum of $50,000 per provider;

• up to $2 million for licensed child care providers to establish satellite locations, which will help support their ongoing operations and physical distancing requirements as part of the COVID-19 pandemic response;

• up to $750,000 for community organizations to develop more diverse child care options to meet the needs of their families, which could reflect different cultures, languages and accessibility needs; and

• up to $250,000 to help ensure child care providers participating in these programs can find and retain families to fill available spaces, through a comprehensive marketing plan.

“As Manitoba businesses continue to recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19, these new programs and investments in child care are critical to a growing economy,” said Chuck Davidson, president and CEO of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, which represents 71 local chambers of commerce in the province and close to 10,000 businesses.

“The removal of obstacles to Manitobans returning to the workplace is a critical piece in re-opening the economy,” said Loren Remillard, president and CEO of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce. “The Winnipeg Chamber is pleased to be a program partner, offering valuable business advisory services to a broader array of applicants, which will contribute to both expanded child care offerings and peace of mind for Manitoba families.”

More information on the new grant programs is available at www.manitoba.ca/childcare. Applications will be posted and begin being accepted on Sept. 1.

“The grant program and the chambers of commerce supported me so that I can provide child care during this unprecedented time,” said Rupinder Singh, home child care provider. “This allowed essential worker families to have access to child care. I also thank the chambers for weekly mentorship sessions, and for being available if I needed advice.”

The province is also following through on a commitment set out in Budget 2020 by allocating an additional $9.5 million into the new Child Care Sustainability Trust, which will launch in March 2021. The trust will support a variety of innovative projects at child care facilities including programming and infrastructure improvements, equipment, and professional development and learning opportunities for staff, with the goal of enhancing inclusive and accessible services.

In addition, the province is committing $4.7 million in new funding to expand the Child Care Centre Development Tax Credit, in order to support the creation of employer-based child care centres for up to 682 children.  This is in addition to the over $2-million investment made when the tax credit launched in 2018. Since that time, support has been allocated to four businesses in Winnipeg, Selkirk and Altona to establish child care centres for 260 children.

For more information on the Child Care Centre Development Tax Credit, established as part of Budget 2018, visit www.gov.mb.ca/fs/childcare/resources/centre_dev_tax_credit.html.

The province first announced $18 million for a temporary child care services grant as part of the COVID-19 pandemic response so licensed child care providers who were unable to work at their regular child care facilities could provide care in home-based settings. To date, 20 child care providers have accessed the grant and created more than 130 spaces to meet the needs of parents and caregivers.

As Manitoba families return to work and school, they can continue to access child care services using Manitoba’s web portal at eswchildcare.ca to find vacancies and contact providers directly.

The child care system established to respond to the pandemic has so far resulted in over 900 child care facilities re-opening across the province, offering more than 21,000 spaces. The minister noted the supply of child care has now exceeded demand as the province re-opens.

As part of the recently launched #RestartMB Pandemic Response System, the Manitoba government has provided additional information and guidance for families and child care providers on COVID-19. To learn more about the system and access more detailed information on child care, visit www.manitoba.ca/covid19/restartmb/prs

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