Thursday, November 24, 2011

Manitoba a Leader in Quality Child Care

November 23, 2011


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Province Committed to Providing More Child-care Spaces: Mackintosh
Manitoba has one of the best child-care systems in the country, according to the first Early Childhood Education Index issued by the Margaret & Wallace McCain Family Foundation, and the province continues to improve and offer more high-quality licensed care for children, Family Services Minister Gord Mackintosh said today.
“First, let me express my sincere appreciation to Canadian early learning advocate, the late Dr. Fraser Mustard.  Through his leadership and the work of his colleagues, children are truly getting a better start in life,” Mackintosh said.  “I am pleased the report demonstrates how we compare with other provinces but it also gives us guidance as we look to the future.  We know that providing affordable, quality, licensed child-care for families gives children a head start as they prepare for school and allows more parents the choice to pursue training, education and employment.”
According to the report, Manitoba, Quebec and P.E.I. are leaders in the field of early learning and child care, well ahead of Ontario and other western provinces in offering quality, accessible child-care.  Only three provinces, including Manitoba, got a passing grade in the index.
Manitoba is in the middle of an aggressive five-year expansion strategy called Family Choices, Mackintosh said.  Since 1999, the province has funded 11,000 new spaces, half since April 2008 when it launched Family Choices.  In total, 54 new child-care centres are now in development.
The province has committed $14 million to improving compensation for early childhood educators including the creation of a pension plan, the minister said, adding it has also created an online registry to help parents find child care that is convenient and meets their needs.
“We have an ambitious capital program that partners child care and schools to build state-of-the-art facilities and helps ensure integration of education and early learning,” Mackintosh said.  “We recognize the importance of early education and have introduced play-based curricula for children in licensed child-care centres and nursery schools.”
According to the Early Childhood Education Index report:
  • child care allows more women to enter the labour force,
  • child care lets more women complete their education including attending post-secondary schools,
  • child care helps close the gap between the rich and the poor,
  • preschool child care and good quality programs give children a head start, and
  • it is better to prepare children early than to resort to remedial action later.
The full report of the Early Childhood Education Index can be seen at
More information about Family Choices, Manitoba’s five-year strategy to further improve child care, can be found at

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