Provincial, federal governments chip in to create 1K child-care spaces in rural, northern Manitoba

Fourteen different Manitoba communities, including two First Nations, will have new child-care facilities built in less than a year, creating more than one thousand new spaces.

The regulated, non-profit child-care facilities are planned for the communities of Morris, Melita, Dauphin, Morden, Lake St. Martin First Nation, Norway House Cree Nation and the municipalities of Hanover, Tache, Macdonald, Rockwood, Sifton, Ritchot, Argyle/Baldur and Brokenhead, Early Childhood Learning Minister Wayne Ewasko announced on Thursday.

He said in a news release that families need access to affordable child care closer to home.

“To achieve this goal, our government is taking an innovative approach through ready-to-move construction technology to create child-care spaces more quickly,” Ewasko said in the release.

These 1,004 new spaces were announced after the province announced more than 600 spaces in nine different facilities in other communities in November.

The 23 modular facilities will cost $94 million altogether, and are being paid for through the Canada-Manitoba Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement.

In exchange, the municipalities and First Nations will provide a minimum of two acres of land with 15 years of free rent, plus snow removal, landscape maintenance and repairs.

The first nine are already under construction off-site and will be moved to their respective areas to ensure the child-care spaces can become available as soon as possible. Construction on the 14 newly-announced buildings will start in late spring.

Ewasko says the 14 facilities announced Thursday are expected to be operational by the end of the year.

Mayor Armand Poirier, in the Rural Municipality of Tache south of Winnipeg, said in the release that the new spaces are needed in his growing community and will support people’s involvement in the workforce.