Manitoba promises additional $600K to double child-care spaces at Brandon YMCA

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As part of the Manitoba government’s ongoing commitment to provide affordable and accessible child-care services for Manitoba families, the province is investing an additional $600,000 in the expansion of the child-care centre at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) of Brandon’s Y Downtown Early Learning Centre, Premier Heather Stefanson and Education and Early Childhood Learning Minister Wayne Ewasko announced here today.

“Our government continues to be a national leader in providing affordable child-care services, which is critical to ensuring Manitobans can participate in the workforce, support their family and play an active role in the growth of our communities and economy,” said Stefanson. “This expansion project will double the number of spaces at the Y Downtown and ensure families in the Brandon area have access to high-quality child care in their community.”

In July 2022, the Manitoba government announced $600,000 for the project through the Early Learning and Child Care Building Fund, which provides recipients with capital grant funding for child-care centre development projects, the premier noted, adding this investment doubles that commitment and brings total government investment in the project to $1.2 million.

Recently, the Manitoba government increased the contribution under the building fund to 60 per cent from 40 per cent of total eligible project construction costs supporting its commitment to create 23,000 child-care spaces by 2025-26. Under annual provincial funding, eligible capital projects will receive capital funding up to a maximum of $1.2 million.

“This change will enable more spaces to be developed and improve access to licensed early learning and child-care programs for all children, regardless of where they live,” said Ewasko. “Working with our federal and sector partners, we remain committed to strengthening the system and ensuring affordable, accessible child care is available for Manitoba families.”

The Y Downtown’s child-care capacity will double to 96 from 48 spaces once the project is complete, creating 12 new infant spaces and 36 preschool spaces, helping more families in need of child-care services.

The expansion of the Y Downtown’s child-care facility is part of a larger project underway at the YMCA of Brandon. In addition to increasing accessibility to child-care spaces, the project features initiatives that will enhance community services, especially for youth, seniors and families. These initiatives include increasing space for supportive programming and creating two outdoor play areas. The centre expansion is expected to open in November 2023, the premier noted.

“The YMCA of Brandon appreciates the continued investment by the Manitoba government to address the significant need for child-care spaces in Brandon and throughout Manitoba,” said Lon Cullen, chief executive officer, YMCA of Brandon. “Every additional space means that more families will have access to quality care. With the opening of Y Downtown in the fall, parents from over 40 families will be able to work, contributing to the economy of our region, knowing their children will be well cared for.”

While the Y Brandon project is funded by the province, the Manitoba government has partnered with the federal government to invest in a number of significant investments in child care as part of the Canada-Manitoba Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement and the extended Canada-Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, both launched in 2022.

Child-care investments under this partnership include:

  • almost $37 million to support wage equity for early learning and child-care staff;
  • $6.6 million to help recruit and retain staff by providing a one-time retroactive wage supplement for the lowest-paid child-care assistants and early childhood educators;
  • more than $1 million for a child-care pilot project in Winnipeg that will help newcomers find reliable child care and maintain employment;
  • more than $4 million to reimburse tuition of early childhood educator students by up to $5,000 per school year;
  • more than $1 million to support a community-based capital project to create 40 new child-care spaces at a new centre in Oakville; and
  • up to $70 million in capital funding for new child-care facilities, creating more than 1,200 new, regulated non-profit child-care spaces with a focus on rural and First Nations communities.

To learn more about the Early Learning and Child Care Building Fund at: https://gov.mb.ca/education/childcare/resources/building_fund.html.

For more information on early learning and child care in Manitoba, visit: https://gov.mb.ca/education/childcare/.