Changing childcare: Winnipeg Print

The Winnipeg Project report:
Time for Action: An Economic and Social Analysis of Childcare in Winnipeg
, 2004. [pdf, 2MB]

This report, prepared by the Child Care Coalition of Manitoba,  was intended to stimulate a 'made-in-Winnipeg' discussion of childcare, and spark homegrown solutions. The project was led by a broad Advisory Council of leading Winnipeggers  (see below) and involved over a dozen community consultations in ten neighbourhoods, in addition to original and secondary data analysis. This report provides detailed quantitative and qualitative evidence of the economic and social impact of childcare in  Winnipeg, as well as information on what other Canadian cities are doing on the issue.

The childcare sector has a significant economic and social impact in Winnipeg. It enables parents to work, and reduces poverty. Childcare, just like a transportation system, is a part of the urban infrastructure that enables people to get to work. Employers need childcare, since their bottom line is hurt when they can't recruit and retain staff. Children benefit in demonstrable ways from early childhood care. Good quality childcare, research shows, is good for children, good for mothers, good for their families, and good for society. Investments in early childhood development yield high public as well as private returns. Economists have estimated returns between two to seven times the original investment. Childcare is both an economic industry in its own right, as well as providing service than enables the rest of the economy to thrive.

Winnipeg's childcare sector is comprised of 251 licensed childcare centres, 74 part-day nurseries, and 295 licensed family homes. Together, these 620 facilities provide 16,749 licensed spaces for children aged 0 - 12 years. There is a childcare space for about 17 percent of the City's children. As an industry, childcare is worth $101 million to the City of Winnipeg. The field employs over 3,200 people who earn an average $80 million. Every $1 invested in childcare returns $1.38 to the Winnipeg economy - even before child benefits are factored in. Childcare also is a job creator: for every 1 childcare job, 2.15 other jobs are created or sustained. Childcare affects over 12,700 households, allowing mothers and fathers to work or study, and to earn an estimated $715 million/year.

Childcare services are not distributed evenly across Winnipeg. The distribution tends to advantage higher-income neighbourhoods with greater social capital and disadvantage inner-city and poorer neighbourhoods. Services for infants and school-age children are in particularly short supply. There is a pressing need for culturally and linguistically appropriate services for Aboriginal, Francophone and other minority communities. The high cost of childcare, the need for extended hours care, and the importance of high quality and neighbourhood-based childcare are equally important themes. Overall, the distribution of childcare services is inadequate and inequitable, creating real barriers for Winnipeg children and their parents.

Childcare services are regulated by the provincial government, but are not centrally planned or coordinated. Neither the City, the private sector, or the voluntary sector has seriously addressed the importance of childcare in their economic and community planning processes. We propose that political leadership and concerted cross-sectoral involvement is badly needed, and we argue it is time for action.

We recommend that a Childcare Task Force be struck, under the joint auspice of the City of Winnipeg, the Province of Manitoba, the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, the Aboriginal Council and the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg. We propose that the Task Force be led by a Chair with extensive experience in Winnipeg's public, private or voluntary sector, and that the Task Force mandate be:

  1. To invite members from a range of Winnipeg communities, including representatives from the public, private and voluntary sectors, the Aboriginal community, the Francophone community, women's organizations and immigrant groups, as well other key stakeholders, to join the Task Force;
  2. To document the current and potential economic and social effects of childcare in Winnipeg, including an analysis of cost, availability, accessibility, and quality, as well as inclusion and cultural sensitivity;
  3. To engage the City and key stakeholders -- including the business community, the voluntary sector, education and other public bodies -- in creating a vision of childcare for Winnipeg;
  4. To propose a "Childcare Agenda for Winnipeg" which includes appropriate ways to integrate childcare into policy and planning for economic development, community and social infrastructure;
  5. To release its final report within twelve months of being established.
  6. We call upon the City of Winnipeg and the Province of Manitoba to ensure that the Task Force has the required resources and expertise to complete its mandate, including the capacity to commission research and undertake community dialogue.

 

The Winnipeg Project Advisory Council Members

Dave Angus,
President and CEO, Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce.

Daniel Boucher.
Executive Director, Societe Franco-Manitoban

Glenn Crook,
Sales & Market Manager, Winnipeg Central, Royal Bank of Canada.

Doug Edmond,
Director, Research, Planning and Technology, Winnipeg School Division.

Sid Frankel,
Past Chair, Social Planning Council of Winnipeg.

Heather Grant-Jury,
President, Winnipeg Labour Council.

Susan Lewis
,
President, United Way of Winnipeg.

Jo Magnifico,
Chief Executive Officer, Magnifico Communications.

Karen Mitchell,
Administrative Co-ordinator, Community Resource Protection and Safety Services, City of Winnipeg.

George Munroe,
Manitoba Institute of Management Inc.

Anita Neville, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South Centre.

T. Michael A. Owen,
Chair, Campaign 2000 and Executive Director, Winnipeg Boys and Girls Club.

Kathy Reid,
Director, Child Day Care, Government of Manitoba.

Eleanor Thompson,
Co-Director, Urban Circle Training Program.

Belinda Vanden Broeck,
Executive Director, Wahbung Abinoonjiiag.

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 14 December 2008 21:40