July 29, 2020
Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg MB – In the middle of a pandemic, the Pallister government is planning to cut supports for children with exceptional needs in childcare centres across Manitoba while spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on review of childcare by KPMG.
“The province tried to cut the inclusion support program in 2017 – and now they are using the pandemic to push through a cut that could impact thousands of children with exceptional needs in our province” said NDP Critic for Child Care Danielle Adams. “It is shameful the province would consider cutting this funding and remove supports for children while wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars on review by high-priced consultants.”
Freedom of Information Requests reveal the province is paying KPMG $249,100 to conduct a review of the ‘funding model’ of the childcare sector in Manitoba. Now the province has revealed a series of proposed cuts to childcare as part of this process. The deadline for feedback on the cuts is August 12th .
One cut proposes eliminating an operating grant that established more than $4,000 per child in additional funding, which could be used to help pay for staff to support the child at nursery. The grant also served to create a more affordable nursery school option for parents, with daily fees at less than half of the standard amount. Many schools have already submitted budgets for the upcoming year, meaning the shortfall would have to be made up by parents already struggling from the pandemic.
Lori Carpenter, Executive Director at Portage Ukrainian Nursery School in Portage la Prairie urged the Pallister government to back off their plan to cut the grant so that nursery schools can continue to offer affordable care to parents.
“Losing this funding would mean I’d have to more than double fees for parents at my school—and for many of them that’s just not an option. The province has caused nothing but chaos for the childcare sector since this pandemic, and now they want to pull tens of thousands of dollars in funding? It’s just not fair.”