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26,000 Manitobans sign petition to increase early learning, child care funding

More than 26,000 Manitobans signed a petition calling for higher child care funding. Getty Images

A petition urging the province to increase early learning and child care funding has been signed by more than 26,000 people from across Manitoba in only a month.

The petition, developed by the Manitoba Child Care Association (MCCA), asks the provincial government for increased funding to licensed, not-for-profit child care programs, and to recognize the importance of these programs to families throughout the province.

“The overwhelming response is a clear indicator that Manitobans understand and value the importance of early learning and child care in this province,” said Tracy Cosser, MCCA president.

“In addition to being an economic contributor, quality licensed child care has positive developmental impacts on young children which will continue through their lives.”

READ MORE: More $ for high-quality, affordable child care: Manitoba families minister

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The MCCA said early learning and child care programs haven’t received new operating funds in more than three years, despite annual increases in the cost of living.

That lack of funding has also resulted in a shortage of trained early childhood educators, and puts some child care programs in financial jeopardy.

NDP leader Wab Kinew. Austin Siragusa / Global News

Manitoba’s opposition NDP have stood behind the petition, condemning the Pallister government for cutting the operating budget for child care centres by $1.4 million in the last provincial budget.

“As the father of a baby myself, I know very well how important affordable and reliable licensed child care is for Manitoba families,” said NDP leader Wab Kinew.

“Child care centres are struggling because the Pallister government has refused to increase their funding in over three years. The government must recognize access to child care as an essential service for young families.”

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WATCH: Federal governement commits to partner on child care improvements

Click to play video 'Federal governement commits to partner on child care improvements' Federal governement commits to partner on child care improvements
Federal governement commits to partner on child care improvements – Feb 23, 2018

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