WINNIPEG — Manitoba is suspending licenced child care services in the province as a result of COVID-19, but making sure front-line health care staff are able to access child care.
Heather Stefanson, Minister of Families, says all licenced child care centres will be suspending services at the end of the day Friday, for the next three weeks.
“During this uncertain and challenging time, we need Manitobans to rise to the challenge,” she said. “We encourage you all to reach out to your friends, your neighbours, and family members to help care for our children during this time. We are all in this together.”
Stefanson announced the province will provide $27 million for to assist front-line health care workers with child care.
The funding will ensure all licenced child-care facilities in Manitoba continue to receive funding during the three-week suspension.
Further, child-care centres can remain open and provide care for health-care workers. Stefanson says centres must have no more than 16 children in their care, with priority given for children of “health care and other essential service workers.”
Childcare workers are also able to provide care in their homes and communities if they choose, Stefanson says. The province has set aside $18 million for a grant program for early childhood educators impacted by service closures.
Early childhood educators are able to access grants of up to $3,000 to begin independently offering childcare services in their homes or communities.
“These services could include establishing home-based centres of up to 12 children, as per Dr. (Brett) Roussin’s advice,” said Stefanson.
Stefanson says they will also be encouraging childcare centres to reimburse parents for any childcare services they have prepaid for, and not charge parents for services they can no longer access.
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