Coronavirus: Manitoba daycare workers ‘treated like garbage’ say early childhood educators

Manitoba childcare workers should not “be on the front lines of sickness” as COVID-19 moves through the province, says an early childhood educator.

John, who asked not to use his last name for fear of losing his job, said after the province announced Friday that schools — but not childcare centres — would close down for three weeks, workers at his centre reacted universally with shock and anger.

“Once again, we’re being treated like garbage,” said John, who has been an Early Childhood Educator for more than five years.

“Do you think toddlers wash their hands and not touch their face? We do our best but these are little kids and germs are just… just everywhere.”

Funding for daycare centres has been frozen by the province since 2016. The Manitoba Child Care Association (MCCA) has been advocating for more funding for additional spaces and pay raises but hasn’t seen that happen.

“I think that a lot of workers are going to decide it’s not worth it,” said John.

When asked Friday about the possibility of closing child care centres along with schools, Premier Brian Pallister said discussions are happening.

“These decisions are being evaluated and will be acted upon in due course,” he said. “I wouldn’t want it reported that we’re dismissing the possibility of discussing it further.”

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