Despite promises to make changes to child-care fees, advocates say Manitoba is slow to enact those pledges.
Under a Canada-Manitoba agreement announced in 2021, a 50 per cent reduction in average parent fees was promised by the end of 2022, with an average of $10 per day by 2025-2026 for all regulated spaces.
But Lori Isber, chair of the Fort Rouge Child Care Centre, says Manitoba is the only province where child-care fees have not been reduced at all.
“They’re not being totally honest with us,” said Isber. “They have funneled things through a hard to maneuver subsidy program and they’re using terms like out of pocket to do sleight of hand to make it seem like the average cost of child care has gone down, when it hasn’t really moved the needle for middle-class and low income families.”
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Brianne Goertzen, the National Childcare Board’s Manitoba rep says Manitoba’s action plan is not delivering affordable rates.
“This is really speaking to the fact that we need to be talking about an actual system of child-care, not continually using these patchwork, outdated, antiquated systems such as the subsidy program in order to actually make child care work,” said Goertzen.
Manitoba Minister of Education and Early Childhood Learning Wayne Ewasko disagrees with advocates and says our fees are still some of the lowest in the country.
“We are the lowest jurisdiction in all of Canada that signed on to the (national agreement),” Ewasko said. “Our current fees range from $2 to $20.70 and we are three years ahead of schedule, we’re going to hit that ($10 a day) fee by 2023.”
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