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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at the Gathering Wisdom Forum in Vancouver on on March 2.Rich Lam/The Canadian Press

Manitoba is to achieve $10-a-day child care by April 2, three years ahead of schedule for the federal Liberal government’s national plan.

“Today is a great reminder of what we can do when we all work together,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday in Winnipeg.

Manitoba signed onto the national child-care plan in 2021. It saw Ottawa commit $1.2 billion to the province over five years.

Premier Heather Stefanson said hitting the milestone early is important for the future of Manitoba families. Those families are to pay a maximum of $10 a day for children age 12 and under at regulated non-profit child-care centres.

The province said that goes above and beyond the agreement with the federal government that required an average of $10 a day.

“We recognize that access to affordable and high-quality child care is essential for Manitobans to be able to participate in the work force.”

The Prime Minister’s Office said it is capped at $10, and in some cases lower. However, for extended care and in some other scenarios the cap goes to $15. On average it works out to $10 a day.

Stefanson said families are to save thousands of dollars in child-care fees that will help pay for groceries and their children’s futures.

She and Trudeau met with families before the announcement at a YMCA-YWCA in the city. Children chased each other in a playroom in the facility as their parents shared how the savings would affect their families.

One parent said the savings will allow them to put money toward diapers and formula.

While money was top of mind, one parent said she appreciated how easy the new deal is for busy families. Creating something that doesn’t require parents to apply for the low rate is huge, she added.

Stefanson said since she became premier, she has prioritized collaboration with all levels of government.

The federal funds are also to be used to create 23,000 early learning and child-care spaces for kids age six and under by 2026.

Education Minister Wayne Ewasko said the province is also focusing on attracting and training childhood professionals to help meet that goal.

Manitoba’s NDP Opposition said if the Progressive Conservatives don’t move on creating more spaces, it will result in “chaos” for child-care centres and early childhood educators.

“The fact is, without real increases to operating funding for child care centres, child care will not improve,” said Nahanni Fontaine, the NDP families critic.

The Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care system has been key to the Liberal government’s agenda. All 13 provinces have signed child-care agreements and a few have also achieved the $10-a-day child care ahead of schedule.

“By working together, Canada and Manitoba have achieved our shared goal of affordable child care,” said Karina Gould, the federal families minister.

Later in the day, Trudeau paid a surprise visit to a group of about 20 health-care workers at the Grace Hospital. He brought the group treats from Tim Hortons and thanked them for their service.

Some of the workers told the prime minister that staffing shortages have led to long emergency room wait times.

“We’re trying to work with the provinces to make sure you get more reinforcements,” Trudeau told the group.