Child care workers across Canada, including Manitoba, are joined the National Day for Early Learning and Child Care Day of Action on November 30.

“Parents, caregivers, and families across Manitoba continue to struggle with affordable, accessible child care in their communities,” said Gina McKay, president of CUPE Manitoba. “We are calling on all governments to address the nationwide child care crisis.”

The Manitoba government has done little in the past ten years to address child care recruitment and retention challenges in a significant way, despite the federal government’s child care initiative that reduced fees on licensed child care for children under the age of six.

“Low-cost child care is important for so many families, but the reality is there are simply not enough child care spaces to meet the demand,” said Brittany Aube, president of CUPE 3060 which represents workers at Brandon University Early Learning Centre Inc., Fuzzy Bears Inc., and Children’s Den Inc., in Brandon, Manitoba. “There are huge challenges accessing child care in Manitoba, especially in rural and northern communities, and wages for child care workers are not keeping up.”

The new NDP government in Manitoba committed to “work with the child care sector to retain and recruit early childhood educators, create new, high-quality child care spaces” during the November 21 speech from the throne, a message CUPE Manitoba hopes will yield improvements.

“We hope the Manitoba government will be a nationwide leader in developing a strong, accessible child care system,” said CUPE 2348’s Peggy Robichaud, who sits on CUPE’s National Child Care Working Group and represents child care workers at Knox Day Nursery Inc. in Winnipeg. “There is some optimism among Manitoba’s child care sector that the new government will prioritize public and not-for-profit child care in the province, and front-line child care workers are eager to be partners to help make that happen.”