The province and the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce have partnered on a $1 million pilot project to help newcomers remove the barrier of finding reliable child care on the path to finding and keeping a job.
Wayne Ewasko, Manitoba’s Minister of Education and Early Learning, made the announcement Thursday at the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba (IRCOM).
“We all know that it can sometimes be difficult to access child care quickly, which can be a major obstacle to finding and keeping a job,” said Ewasko. “Our government is committed to ensuring that all Manitoba families, including newcomers, have access to quality, affordable, inclusive child care in convenient locations.
The new funding will be used to create new child care spaces reserved for newcomers who participate in the Carrefour d’emploi program for newcomers.
Launched earlier this summer, the program is billed as an innovative online employment tool offered by the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce aimed at creating quality job matches between newcomers and local employers. The province said it uses cutting-edge technology to connect employers and newcomers with support from newcomer-serving agencies.
House Speaker Loren Remillard said the hub offers a promising solution to the long-standing challenge Manitoba employers face filling vacancies.
He said since the soft launch of the Newcomer Employment Hub in March, he has engaged more than 370 job seekers, 10 service agencies and 63 individual Manitoba employers.
He said the chamber had heard from participants that one of the biggest barriers newcomers face is childcare.
“This partnership with the Government of Manitoba is truly an innovative, bold and community-driven response to what we are hearing from stakeholders,” Rémillard said.
“It breaks down the main barrier between employers and newcomers to Canada and in doing so, it paves the way for greater talent, attraction, development and retention, and thus promotes diversity, inclusion and increased and improved fairness in Manitoba workplaces.
Ewasko said the project will initially start with 12 places in an IRCOM-supported child care center for newcomers participating in the hub program. By April 2023, the full $1 million will support 68 fully subsidized licensed child care spaces for newcomer families.
“This new program will go a long way to reducing barriers to employment, but it will also help people connect to our community faster,” he said.
Ewasko said future expansions may add capital improvements and renovations to add more child care spaces and will be determined after a review of the project.
The Newcomer Employment Hub can be found on the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce website. website.