Manitoba

Manitobans want more daycare options, not cash from feds: poll

Results from a new Probe Research poll shows more than half of Manitobans want more publicly-funded child care spaces at a subsidized cost rather than a direct top-up from Ottawa.

Probe Research poll shows 52% of Manitobans prefer more daycare programs, not monthly allowances

Results from a new Probe Research poll shows more than half of Manitobans want more publicly-funded child care spaces at a subsidized cost rather than a direct top-up from Ottawa. 2:08

Results from a new Probe Research poll show more than half of Manitobans want more publicly-funded child care spaces at a subsidized cost rather than a direct top-up from Ottawa.

The poll asked 1,002 Manitobans the following question: “What is the best way to help families get the child care they need?

Fifty-two per cent of respondents said they favour the Liberal/New Democrat approach to child care support, which tends to emphasize developing and expanding subsidized public child-care options.

Thirty-two per cent of those surveyed said they like the Conservative’s route, preferring the option of giving parents additional money through a child care allowance program.

There isn't enough service in the province and it doesn't quite solve the problem- Freya Sigfusson

Seven per cent of respondents said neither option was preferable, while 2 per cent wanted both more money given directly to parents as well more subsidized child care programs. Seven per cent of those polled were undecided.

More services > more cash?

The federal Conservatives have mounted an ad campaign recently promoting their plan to give parents money to help cover daycare costs. But Freya Sigfusson said she would prefer to have more daycare options and support at her disposal.

Sigfusson said she had to take time off during the holidays, because her son's daycare was closed.

“There isn't enough service in the province and it doesn't quite solve the problem.”

The federal NDP has promised to create more publicly funded child care spaces at a reduced cost to parents. In total, they’ve pledged to create 370,000 new spaces in the first four years, with more to come.

The Conservatives are promising more cash that will go directly into the hands of parents: $160 a month for each child under six and $60 a month for kids between the ages of six and 17.

But Sigfusson said the amount offered through the Conservative's plan doesn’t provide enough compensation to achieve what it sets out to.

"The amount that you're getting for subsidy is really just negligible,” said Sigfusson. “It doesn't help you find daycare.”

Sara Masek, a single mom in Winnipeg, also supports more day care programs over monthly cheques from the federal government.

Masek said she has had to depend on her mother to help with watching her kid.

“It's really hard to find spots, especially for her age [group], so that's important to me,” said Masek. “It's difficult and right now I'm running out of my mom's patience, because she's been nice enough to take care of her for now.”

While most Manitobans polled favour subsidized daycare, roughly 60 per cent of parents with kids younger than six preferred cash. 

“Having more money transferred directly, I think that some people look at that and say, ‘maybe I can work part time instead of full time or stay home all together,’” said Curtis Brown with Probe Research, adding he believes that is why the Conservative's approach has a fair deal of political support.

The results of the poll, which was commissioned by the Winnipeg Free Press, are within plus or minus 3.1 percentage points of what they would have been if the entire adult population of Manitoba had been interviewed.

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