On June 1, 2022, the Manitoba Child Care Association (MCCA) released its Roadmap to a Quality Early Learning and Child Care System in Manitoba.

This important document outlines how we (all levels of government, advocates, academics, researchers, the sector and stakeholders, including business leaders) can collectively realize a comprehensive, high-quality Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) system for Manitoba’s children, families and communities. Under the guidance and expertise of Jane Beach, as lead researcher, the Roadmap reflects the findings from virtual engagement with a range of ELCC and related stakeholders in March 2022. It is informed by the considerable body of research and policy development about system building that has been conducted in Canada and internationally.

The document is an ideal framework to facilitate discussions on how best to build an ELCC system. It addresses the connection of the important policy issues and how each needs to be included as a whole, not in isolation of each other: the ELCC workforce, expanding access for families, enhancing and further quality, affordability and inclusion. The Roadmap also recognizes and builds on the existing strengths of ELCC in Manitoba.

The COVID 19 pandemic revealed the fragility of existing early learning and child care services in both Canada and Manitoba. It resulted in massive disruptions to all aspects of life at work and at home. The closure of most child care programs across the country during the early months of the pandemic, had a significant and detrimental impact on parents, especially on mothers’ ability to remain in or return to the workforce or place of study. It shone a light on the essential role of early learning and child care to the economy, gender equity, social inclusion, an equitable society, and the well-being and development of young children.

The federal Budget 2021 – A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth and Resilience  put support for early learning as a central part of country’s economic and social recovery. The budget committed $27.2 billion over the next five years to establish, in collaboration with provinces and territories, a Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care System, on a scale of the development of the public systems of education and health care.

The Canada-Manitoba Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement (2016-2026) was signed on August 9, 2021. It will invest $1.2 billion in funding over the 5-year period.

This is a historic and exciting time for Manitoba ~ it is critical that we get it right for all.

Thanks to child care, Manitoba can work.