There’s been considerable effort by volunteers in Muenster and Bruno in laying the groundwork for new and much needed day care facilities in each community. Last week, that hard work paid off as both communities received provincial funding and approval to proceed with the next phase of their plans. To this point, it was all applications and wishful thinking, but now both committees can proceed with confidence.
On December 11, the province announced an additional $28.9 million injection of federal and provincial money to develop up to 2,197 new child care spaces in regulated child care centres across the province.
"Today our government is pleased to announce a significant expansion in regulated child care, which is so important to Saskatchewan families," Minister of Education Dustin Duncan said. "In our growing province, we are providing funding for nearly 2,200 more children to attend regulated child care, which provides high quality early learning, play and exploration environments for our youngest learners."
Jodi Tremel with the organizers for the Bruno Child Care Centre was able to announce the funding and approval to those gathered for their Denim and Diamonds fundraising event held on the weekend. Those in attendance at the packed event were understandably emotional on hearing the news.
“Overwhelmed,” Tremel said of the response. “Everybody is so overwhelmed with excitement, and a little bit of nerves with the work that’s to come, but it’s overwhelming excitement.”
The mood was the same in Muenster as chair of the Muenster Community Day Care Centre, Jenna-Lee Novecosky received the news.
“I got a voicemail and had to listen to it while I was on a break at work. I called back and heard the good news, and I couldn’t do anything but be in shock and, well, cry.”
The announcement paves the way for 30 licensed day care spots in Bruno and 25 in Muenster. The announcement also covered an expansion of 12 additional spaces for the day care centre currently in operation at the Lake Lenore School.
The announced funding will cover aspects of planning, developing and equipping the centres, both of which need to be constructed, but by no means does it cover all the costs. That means that both organizations will continue their fundraising efforts in the coming months.
“Now that we do have this cash injection to get us started, the support of our community is really where we need to come together and really push for the funds to make this dream a reality,” says Bruno’s Jodi Tremel. She adds that the committee is extremely thankful for the community support they’ve received thus far.
“The fundraising will not stop,” echoes Muenster’s Jenna-Lee Novecosky. “We are going to be starting a cheer wagon raffle.” She notes the government funding will go to specific aspects of the building and equipment - the remainder is left for the organizations to fundraise.
Funding for these spaces is provided through the Canada-Saskatchewan Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement 2021-26, signed in August 2021, which provides a federal investment of nearly $1.1 billion over five years for child care in Saskatchewan.
“We know that a strong early learning and child care system will drive economic growth, increase women’s participation in the workforce and offer each child in Canada the best start in life,” Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Karina Gould said. “These additional licensed child care spaces will allow more children and families across the province to access high-quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive early learning and child care.”
The additional spaces are a part of the shared goal of the Governments of Saskatchewan and Canada to create 28,000 new child care spaces in the province by the end of March 2026. Currently Saskatchewan funds 22,884 child care spaces, including the newly announced 2,197 spaces.