The province is investing an additional $600,000 in the expansion of the child-care centre at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) of Brandon’s Y Downtown Early Learning Centre.

Premier Heather Stefanson and Education and Early Childhood Learning Minister Wayne Ewasko made the announcement Tuesday morning.

“Our government continues to be a national leader in providing affordable child-care services, which is critical to ensuring Manitobans can participate in the workforce, support their family and play an active role in the growth of our communities and economy,” said Stefanson. “This expansion project will double the number of spaces at the Y Downtown and ensure families in the Brandon area have access to high-quality childcare in their community.”

In July 2022, the Manitoba government announced $600,000 for the project through the Early Learning and Child Care Building Fund, which provides recipients with capital grant funding for child-care centre development projects, the premier noted, adding this investment doubles that commitment and brings total government investment in the project to $1.2 million.

Recently, the Manitoba government increased the contribution under the building fund to 60 per cent from 40 per cent of total eligible project construction costs supporting its commitment to create 23,000 child-care spaces by 2025-26. Under annual provincial funding, eligible capital projects will receive capital funding up to a maximum of $1.2 million.

The Y Downtown’s child-care capacity will double to 96 from 48 spaces once the project is complete, creating 12 new infant spaces and 36 preschool spaces, helping more families in need of child-care services.

“With the opening later this year we will have over 500 infant and pre-school spaces that we serve every day in addition to our school age program we serve another 500 plus people. So, every day during school we serve 1,000 children which we feel is significant to our community and our economy,” said Lon Cullen CEO of the Brandon YMCA.

The expansion of the Y Downtown’s child-care facility is part of a larger project underway at the YMCA of Brandon. In addition to increasing accessibility to child-care spaces, the project features initiatives that will enhance community services, especially for youth, seniors and families. These initiatives include increasing space for supportive programming and creating two outdoor play areas. The centre expansion is expected to open by the summer of 2023.

“The YMCA of Brandon appreciates the continued investment by the Manitoba government to address the significant need for child-care spaces in Brandon and throughout Manitoba,” said Lon Cullen, chief executive officer, YMCA of Brandon.