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Winnipeg – The Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents 24,000 workers in Manitoba, applauds the provincial government’s Five Year Plan for Early Learning and Child Care.

CUPE is pleased to see that the government has made a major commitment to address child care accessibility, affordability, and quality of service,” said Kevin Rebeck, President of CUPE Manitoba.

The announcement this week of a five year plan marks the beginning of a new era for the child care system in this province.  It’s especially significant that their plan recognizes the professionalism and commitment of Early Childhood Educators with government funding for wages and pensions,” said Rebeck.

He noted that the Government of Manitoba is leading the way in Canada with this plan that acknowledges the essential role of Early Childhood Educators in our communities.

The government has indicated there will be a 20% funding increase to deal with wage increases, the establishment of a minimum base rate and a wage adjustment fund, as well as the pension issue.

We are anxious to get the details of the promised pension plan and minimum wage rate which are essential to the provision of high-quality, affordable and accessible child care”, said Lori Schroen, President of CUPE Local 1543 which represents child care workers at several centres in Manitoba.

CUPE has been lobbying government for years to address the fact that most early childhood educators don’t have a pension plan.  Wages for early childhood educators are extremely low and they have few, if any, benefits,” said Schroen, “We look forward to hearing more about how these changes will be implemented.”