Most Manitobans agree universal child care should be a priority for PCs: poll
Manitoba Child Care Association hired Probe Research to conduct poll of 1,000 Manitobans
A full three-quarters of Manitobans say a universal child care system should be a priority for the province, according to a new Probe Research poll commissioned by the Manitoba Child Care Association.
The study found that most respondents — 58 per cent — agreed they were willing to pay a little more in taxes to make universal child care possible. The poll defined universal child care as a system "where every child who needs a space gets one."
"The public survey confirms that quality, affordable child care is very affordable to Manitobans," said April Kalyniuk, president of the MCCA, in a Tuesday release.
"With pre-budget consultations now underway in our province, we will be reporting to the government that child care must be a priority in the 2017 budget."
More 15,000 kids on waiting list
More than 80 per cent of respondents agreed lack of child care in the province is a serious issue, and only 11 per cent said it's easy to find child care in Manitoba.
As of Sept. 30, more than 15,723 children are queued for a spot on the online child care registry waiting list, the release states. The provincial government has said that's an all-time high for the province.
Three-quarters said child care in Manitoba is too expensive for many parents, but the same percentage also said early childhood educators should be paid more.
During the election campaign, the Progressive Conservative party promised to fund more than 500 new home day care spots for children in the province.
'Frozen in time,' NDP MLA says
NDP MLA Nahanni Fontaine says the government needs to steer away from home-based child care and invest money to fund public spaces.
"This government looks like it's frozen in time with a supposed plan that no one has seen yet for home child care," she said in Question Period at the Manitoba Legislature on Tuesday.
Fontaine cited a University of Manitoba study from September that called home-based child care "a shrinking and troubled sector" and called on the province to "rethink its reliance on the current family home child care model."
Manitoba Minister of Family Services Scott Fielding said the province has committed more than $163 million to child care already, a record high for provincial child care spending.
The MCCA hired Probe Research to conduct the province-wide poll, which was done via telephone interviews between Sept. 13 and 26 with a random and representative sampling of 1,000 adults in the province.
The results are within 3.1 percentage points above or below what they would have been if the entire population had been interviewed, Probe Research says.