Manitoba Family Services

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Early Learning and Child Care Services in Manitoba

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The Manitoba government believes that quality early learning and child care supports a child’s emotional, social, intellectual and physical development. It also keeps children safe and happy in a caring environment. Families can choose full-time or part-time care during the day, evenings or weekends, in a licensed child care centre, a family child care home or a nursery school. These licensed settings are part of a system of early learning and child care in Manitoba that is based on the principles of quality, universality, accessibility and affordability.

Child care legislation

All licensed child care in Manitoba must follow The Community Child Care Standards Act. The act defines the types of child care situations that need licensing. Its regulations help make sure that child care in licensed centres and homes meets government standards.

Licensed providers

Licensed child care is offered in many different settings:

in centres

  • full-time infant and preschool – for children aged three months to six years
  • school-age – for children aged five to 12 years
  • nursery – for children aged two to five years

in homes

  • family child care – provided by one person in his or her home for up to eight
    children, aged three months to 12 years
  • group child care – provided by two or more people in one of their homes for up to 12 children, aged three months to 12 years

The provincial government licenses non-profit organizations, parent co-operatives, private companies or people who operate child care centres and homes. It also offers operating grants to eligible providers.

smiling boy

A commitment to affordable, accessible, high quality care and education

The Manitoba government oversees the operation of licensed early learning and child care across the province. It ensures high quality care and education for children aged three months to 12 years by:

  • licensing and monitoring centres and homes according to the act and its regulations
  • providing subsidies for child care fees to licensed facilities for eligible families
  • providing grants to eligible licensed centres and homes
  • helping centres and home providers support children with special needs
  • regulating and assessing the education credentials of early childhood educators and child care assistants who work in licensed centres and awarding classification levels
  • providing competency-based assessment and training for child care assistants and family child care providers with prior learning and experience
children playing

Province-wide access

Centres are located in a variety of community settings including schools, community centres and workplaces.

Licensed family child care homes are located in neighbourhoods across Manitoba.


When is a licence not required?

A licence is not required:

  • when care is provided in a home for up to four children under the age of 12 (with no more than two children under the age of two), including the caregiver’s own children
  • when public or private schools take responsibility for the operation of nursery schools or before and after school programs
  • in other situations when parents are onsite and immediately accessible to their children

Highlights of the legislation

The act and its regulations are based on current research and are some of the best in North America.

They make sure:

  • early learning and child care environments contribute to the health, safety and well-being of children
  • there are activities to promote children’s physical, social, emotional and intellectual development
  • parents are involved in the operation or management of centres
children on play structure

Important Standards

Staff training:

  • Two-thirds of centre staff working with infant and preschool children, and half of school-age or nursery school staff must have a diploma or a degree in early childhood education.  Child care assistants must complete a 40-hour course in early childhood education.
  • Family child care providers are assessed by child care co-ordinators for their suitability to provide child care. All providers must take a 40-hour course in family child care or early childhood education.
  • All child care providers must undergo a police check, child abuse registry check and have first aid and CPR training.


  • There is strict legislation on staff-to-child ratios (1:4 infants, 1:8 preschool and 1:15 school age) and the maximum number of children allowed in a group in child care centres.


  • Regulations call for child-focused, play-based, inclusive curricula to encourage healthy development in all children. Centres must provide a variety of activities, as well as space and equipment for art, music, science, dramatic play, reading, fine and large motor skills, outdoor play, blocks, water, sand and construction.

Safety and Conduct:

  • Each facility must have a safety plan to deal with emergencies, including how to control visitor access.
  • Each facility must have a code of conduct for staff, parents, children and all others involved with the facility.

Assessing the value of quality child care

  • 70 per cent of Canadian mothers with children under age six are working moms. (Statistics Canada, 2006)
  • Preparing a stimulating environment that fosters play and exploration is an essential part of the work of a teacher of preschool children. (Fraser, 2006)
  • In a quality program, each child feels accepted, understood, supported and respected by the adults, enjoys positive relationships with the other children and generally finds the activities interesting, engaging and satisfying. (Canadian Child Care Foundation, 2007)
woman playing with child

For more information:

Go to:

Child Care Information Services:

Phone: 204-945-0776 in Winnipeg;
toll free: 1-888-213-4754

Subsidy Information Services

Phone: 204-945-0286 in Winnipeg;
toll free 1-877-587-6224

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