Time after time, the province has been granting ready-to-move daycare centres to communities across Manitoba, and each time, the Town of Ste. Anne has been left off the list. 

Mayor Yvan St. Vincent was optimistic that the growing town would be on the next list of announcements, but his hopes were recently dashed. 

He says the town was informed that Ste. Anne will not make the cut for the next round of ready-to-move childcare buildings. That is despite being told they had a strong case, he adds. 

“We’re seeing some neighbouring RM’s who are getting additional spaces in phase one and phase two, and getting all kinds of spots, and even hearing stories where in some cases the RM or the daycare didn’t even ask for them and they're being allocated spots,” says St. Vincent. “And here we are, one of the fastest growing communities in Manitoba for the last two Census, we're not considered for getting spots.” 

This news came much at the same time that St. Vincent learned one of their daycare centres, Children of the Universe, might soon be without a building. 

Haley Lefebvre, the executive director at the daycare, says the building they are leasing will be put up for sale and they could be without a place as early as this fall.

Exterior of Children of the Universe daycare building

Children of the Universe has a wait list of over 200 names, she says, and is currently serving 31 families. 

“There’s a drastic shortage of childcare across the province,” Lefebvre notes. “But when you look at what can happen to Ste. Anne if we don't receive an RTM, where are these kids going to go?” 

St. Vincent says the town was prepared for provincial support, with land, funding, and a daycare group was ready to operate an additional centre. They just needed the province to give Ste. Anne the same support as it has given to numerous other communities through the first two rounds of daycare centre announcements. 

“I should say that we have been told with the new school being built, which will hopefully open in 2027, part of that announcement was 72 (daycare) spots in there,” he says. 

Earlier this year, the province approved a new vocational high school in Ste. Anne which will have a daycare added to it.  

“But frankly, we need those 72 spots and more right now,” the mayor adds. “So, assuming all goes well, and the school opens when it's supposed to, in 2027, that will certainly help. But the reality is we need help, we need spots now and we need them fast. When we've communicated this with the government, we haven't got a lot of answers or transparency or collaboration on what we're going to do with the lack of spots we have in town and now, and with the news that one of our daycares maybe actually losing their building in September. Of course, that depends on the building selling and all those kinds of things and the new landlord, but we are very concerned.” 

Both St. Vincent and Lefebvre say they have tried to get answers from the province, wanting to understand the reasoning behind the decision that is keeping Ste. Anne off the list for more childcare spaces, and both say they have not had any luck. 

“Our town has the vision, and they need the support of the government to be able to bring this vision to life,” Lefebvre says. 

Ste. Anne Town Council is encouraging residents to bring their concerns to Dawson Trail MLA Bob Lagassé, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Learning Wayne Ewasko, and to Premier Heather Stefanson.