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The Child Care and Early Childhood Education Sector provide an essential service and should be respected, revered and well supported financially

Today, I received a letter from a woman who is very concerned about the Child Care and Early Childhood Education Sector in our province.  My response to her letter is below: 

I much appreciate your writing about the importance of child care and early childhood education and its essential role in Manitoba society.   You are absolutely correct in talking about the critical role that child care and early childhood education play in helping our children, our parents, our employers and our province.  It is important for parents, but it is even more important for the children.  We know from extensive research that good child care and early childhood education programs play a vital role in enabling children to get off to a good start in life, particularly children who are disadvantaged.  We know that the long run returns from dollars spent in good child care and early childhood education are about seven dollars for each dollar spent.  We recognize, as you do, it is essential to assist “youth to grow with a healthy emotional, social, physical and cognitive sense of self, regardless of demographics.”  These are indeed the reasons that the Manitoba Liberal Party in the 2011 provincial election committed to put an additional $44.5 million into child care and early childhood education in the first year of a Liberal government.  This would have been a larger increase in one year than the NDP provided in the four and a half years from 2011 to 2016.  These are the reasons that the Manitoba Liberal Party in the 2019 provincial election committed to a goal of having 55,000 new child care spaces by September 2027, creating 2,250 spaces per year, or 18,000 new spaces and to moving Early Childhood Education from under the Department of Families to the Department of Education to ensure a continuous educational experience for all Manitoba children. See this link for more details https://jongerrardsreport.blogspot.com/2019/08/child-care-and-early-childhood.html

We, in the Manitoba Liberal Party are absolutely and unequivocally committed to a child care and early childhood education sector which is given the respect that it deserves and the funding and support needed to bring us to one of the best child care and early childhood education sectors in the world. We are sad that the Pallister government has, as you well describe it, “a cold approach to a very scary social situation.” In contrast, our Liberal team is fully committed to working with you and others to do everything we can to support those who work in providing child care and early childhood education and the parents and employers who need it. That is why, on March 27th we issued a call for the Pallister government to step up and properly support the child care and early childhood education sector.  Our call is at this link:  https://www.mbliberalcaucus.ca/news_details.php?id=82. It is also below.

We recognize that you are stepping up, and we want to see a day when instead of being “stepped on” you are one of the most respected and revered sectors in our province.  I would say, in addition, that we have a situation which changes from day to day, and any concerns that you have that we can work to get addressed we will do that.   Email any of our three Liberal MLAs – Dougald Lamont at info@dougaldlamont.ca,  Cindy Lamoureux at cindy.lamoureux@leg.gov.mb.ca or me at jon.gerrard@leg.gov.mb.ca

Sincerely
Jon Gerrard
MLA-River Heights


Full details of our call to the Pallister government on March 27, 2020:

PCs Must Support ECE Centres and Workers NOW
March 27, 2020 
Manitoba Liberals have written a public letter urging the provincial government to review its policies on Early Learning and Child Care.
Many child care centres and workers are facing extreme financial hardship and possibly bankruptcy because of the policies that have been rolled out to date.
The current policy of the government has been to issue orders that effectively deprives organizations of their revenue, while offering no replacement. This is not sustainable: the current arrangement means that a service that is being designated as essential during the pandemic is not being funded adequately.
We are asking the Pallister Government to review the following issues:
·         The Provincial Government should step up to cover the overhead of centres that are closed, whether they are public or private, so long as the pandemic shutdown is in place. That includes taxes, insurance, and overhead.
·         For centres where the children of essential workers are being cared for, the parent fees should be paid by the government.
·         Enhanced pay for workers in centres caring for children of essential workers to reflect their extra duties and the work required to maintain cleanliness.
·         Additional resources and additional training so that child care centres can offer safe and healthy pandemic child care services, at no cost to the actual centres. This should include hand sanitizer, gloves, masks and any other materials required to keep children, workers and workplaces clean.
·         The Province and Public Health must provide clear guidance on best practices. The Best Practices Manual for Early Childhood Education has not been updated since 2006 and it has no pandemic preparedness.
We cannot ask ECE centres and workers to shoulder the financial burden of this crisis while also demanding that they stay open so our health care and other systems can function.
This is a matter that is becoming critical. The people working in this sector have faced four weeks of confusion and uncertainty. This requires not just an immediate answer, but immediate action.
Manitoba Liberal Party commitment in the Provincial election of 2011
Sept 11, 2011
For the last twelve years under the NDP there have been extraordinarily long wait times for child care and early childhood education.   This morning I was at the Little Saints Daycare.  They have 38 spaces which are all full.  They have 188 kids on their waiting list.   When it comes to waiting times for child care and early childhood education there is still a big problem.  The NDP just have not done the job that needs to be done.

Today, I announced our commitment of $44.5 million dollars in the first year of a Liberal government to create more early childhood education and day care spaces and to reduce the wait times.   We have also committed to improved partnerships with community organizations and schools.  Further we committed today to improved early screening and treatment for learning disorders in both the early childhood education system and in the school system.

We are doing this because the positive relationship between childcare quality and virtually every facet of children's development is one of the most consistent findings in development science.  This effort will help our children and it will help our school system and it will reduce crime by better preparing children for school and for life.  Studies have shown every dollar invested in this way will save seven dollars down the road.  Many of the dollars saved are in reduced costs to our justice system!

We recognize that this is a large infusion of dollars into the child care-early childhood education system.  We are doing this because one of the most important things we can do is ensure our children are well prepared and do well.

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