Skip to main content

A universally accessible child care and early childhood education system for Manitoba

This morning I announced my commitment to a universally accessible child care and early childhood learning system for Manitoba.  The press release is below.  Above, I am with Regan Wolfrom and his children Isla and Colin at the Elmwood Day Nursery where I made the announcement.   Regan and his family have used child care in Manitoba and appreciate the importance of having access to quality child care and early childhood education.

Gerrard pledges to end Manitoba’s “child care deficit”

“We need a solution to child care issues in Manitoba, not just tinkering,” said MLA for River Heights and Manitoba Liberal Party leadership candidate Dr. Jon Gerrard today.  “That solution is a system that provides for stable, affordable, universally accessible, high quality early learning and child care throughout the province.  It’s time to finally end Manitoba’s child care deficit.”

The NDP government left a legacy of extraordinarily long wait lists for early learning and child care in Manitoba.  In April 2016, the province’s online child care registry listed more than 12,000 children who were waiting for care.[1]  The child care deficit has only expanded under the Pallister government, with 16,861 children waiting for care as of June 30, 2017.[2]  Wait times for child care of 14 to 20 months are common in the province.[3]

Manitoba’s child care deficit is a critical issue for all Manitobans, as it slows the province’s economic growth.  Probe Research’s Manitoba Business Leaders Index 2016 found that almost half of the province’s corporate leaders (49%) reported having difficulty finding skilled employees.[4]  Meanwhile, a 2016 Manitoba Child Care Association survey found that 41 percent of new parents had delayed returning to work, 30 percent had turned down a job, and 24 percent had turned down an educational opportunity because they lacked child care.[5]  Moreover, investing in high quality child care helps to advance women’s equality, reduces poverty, supports working families, and has a range of positive impacts on childhood development.

Dr. Gerrard recognizes that an immediate solution to the province’s child care deficit is needed.  Within two months of being elected leader, Dr. Gerrard will appoint a Liberal Early Learning and Child Care Task Force.  It will use the Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care Commission Final Report (January 2016) as the basis of province-wide consultations to ensure we have a plan that is ready to launch upon forming government.  The plan will be released before the 2020 provincial election.

The plan must provide:

A.      Stable, affordable, universally accessible, and high quality early learning and child care for all Manitoba children;
B.      Fair wages for childhood educators;
C.      The reduction of wait times to no more than 3 months, as soon as feasible after the election;
D.      An approach that facilitates the early identification and treatment of children with learning disabilities, including hearing, speech and language disorders.

Should a Liberal government be elected in 2020, Dr. Gerrard pledges to appoint a Minister specifically charged with overseeing the implementation of our early learning and child care plan on a priority basis

[1] Prentice, Susan, “Childcare and the Manitoba Election,” Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (Manitoba Office), 12 April 2016.
[2] Wege, Pat, “Child Care Wait List Continues to Grow,” Manitoba Child Care Association News Post.
[3] Prentice, Susan, “Fast Facts: How to really help Manitoba families,” Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (Manitoba Office), 22 December 2016.
[4] Wege.
[5] Ibid.


Popular posts from this blog

Standing up for Seniors

Yesterday in the Legislature I  asked the Minister of Health questions about the care of seniors in personal care homes in Manitoba.   I specfically called for the Minister to increase the training and staffing requirements for personal care homes in Manitoba to bring them up to date.   My questions, the Minister's comments and the Speaker's interjection are below: Personal-Care-Home Improvements - Need for Upgrades to Standards and TrainingHon. Jon Gerrard  (River Heights):Madam Speaker, we're very concerned this government is not adapting to the reality of caring for seniors who are living longer. Seniors living in our personal-care homes today have much more challenging health-care conditions than those who were in similar homes even five years ago, and yet the staffing formula, or minimal personnel requirement, is over 20 years old. Too few care aides and nurses are adequately trained to look after residents with dementia and multiple chronic health conditions. I ask on…

Why was Skinner's restaurant removed from the Forks Market when there so much empty space there?

Wednesday, December 4 I asked in Question Period about the large amount of vacant space at the Forks Market, some of which had been vacant for two or more years.  I also asked specifically as to why the renowned Skinner's Restaurant was removed from the Forks Market when there is so much empty space now.  My question and the Minister's response are below.    A video of the exchange can be seen at this link - Forks Market - Vacancy Management
Hon. Jon Gerrard  (River Heights):Madam Speaker, today The Forks Market has a lot of empty space, much of it empty for two or more years. The list of vacant space includes what was formerly Muddy Waters smokehouse, Beachcombers, Skinners, Dragon House, Aida Crystal, significant parts of Sydney's, Sushi Train, and several balcony businesses a lot–along with a lot of unused former administrative space.       The minister overseeing municipal affairs is responsible for oversight of The Forks, a provincial tre…

Under the Pallister government there are fewer opportunities for youth and an increasing net movement of people away from Manitoba to other provinces

Under the Conservative Pallister government we are seeing an increasing movement of people away from Manitoba to other provinces.   Under the last year of the NDP the situation was not good with a net loss of people from Manitoba to other provinces of 4,921 people.   Under the Pallister Conservatives the net loss of people has gone up substantially to 9,246 - an increase in the net movement out of Manitoba to other provinces of 87%.    This is likely because the Pallister Conservative government's policies have made Manitoba a less desirable place to live so we have a larger movement of people away from Manitoba.

I am very concerned about the bad government we have under Mr. Pallister which is leading to this outcome. 

In a committee meeting on Poverty on Thursday evening December 5th,  I asked Minister Stefanson about a disturbing statistic in the government's Poverty report - that there has been a substantial increase in the number of youth aged 15 to 24 who are not in emp…