CUPE BC president says province’s plan to add 6,500 new spaces puts B.C. to shame
BURNABY—The province of Manitoba’s ambitious, five-year plan calling for 6,500 new childcare spaces and up to 35 more program sites puts the wealthier province of British Columbia to shame, says the B.C. division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
“While our government is committed to capital funding of big-box, for-profit childcare and pay cuts for childcare workers, the Manitoba government is actually doing something to make the public childcare system better for everyone,” says CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill.
“Manitoba is a smaller province, and doesn’t produce the kind of surpluses B.C. has seen recently. So the government’s decision to make such major improvements to its childcare system should be a major embarrassment to Gordon Campbell and Minister of Children and Family Development Tom Christensen.”
The Manitoba plan, announced on Monday, represents a 28 per-cent increase in childcare spaces over five years. It also features nursery schools for an additional 1,300 children (a 33 per-cent increase), and a 20 per-cent overall funding increase for pension plans, wage increases and adjustments to establish a minimum wage base.
“It’s reassuring to know there’s a provincial government in this country that is actually serious about childcare, about addressing families in need,” says O’Neill, adding that the 12-point plan also includes training for more than 450 new Early Childhood Education graduates and a 15 per-cent salary increase for early childhood educators.
“It’s time the Liberals took a good, long look at childcare policy in this province and start to address the needs that are out there. Only a properly funded childcare program, and fair wages for childcare workers, will help families and solve the recruitment and retention problems in this province.”
Contact: Barry O’Neill, CUPE BC president: 604.340.6768, Dan Gawthrop, CUPE Communications: 604.999.6132