Ukrainian mothers in Manitoba fight for jobs without child care – Winnipeg


Alena Ostropilets led her five-year-old children by the hand to the school bus as it pulled up to their stop, towering over them.

The twins rode up the steps in matching backpacks and traditional Ukrainian shirts, to a friendly greeting from the driver.

Thursday was Oleksander and Roman’s first day of school.

It was also her mother’s first day without her children since she had fled Ukraine. They will miss the Ostropilets, but she is also looking forward to finding a job and improving her English, she says.

“I need to work every day because we need money to live in Canada.”

However, Ostropilets has been scrambling to get a daycare that fits the “one day on, one day off” kindergarten schedule of its school division.

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Although she is a family law attorney by trade, she is willing to take on other things to help support her family, which is currently operating on one income.

“It’s very difficult for him and for me,” said Ostropilets, whose husband works at a factory outside of Winnipeg.

Ostropilets is not alone in her struggle to access childcare so she can support her family in a new country.

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Hundreds of Ukrainian mothers in Manitoba share the same story, except many are without a husband and without a stable income, said Olesia Chychkevych.

“The problem is that they are ready to go to work because they need money to live, to buy food, to pay rent, but they cannot,” Chychkevych told Global News on Thursday, who volunteers at the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.

“They have to stay at home with their children, and they have no possibility of finding work, and that’s the main problem for all of us.”

As a refugee, Chychkevych helped conduct a survey of Ukrainian mothers and discussed the results with provincial government officials. The Ukrainian Canadian Congress also shared their concerns and possible solutions.

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The province says it has processes in place to help newcomers find child care, a spokesperson said in an emailed statement Thursday.

“Early Learning and Child Care has worked with Ukrainian families to find care through the Manitoba Child Care Finder tool and direct contact with licensed child care centers that have available spaces,” said the spokesperson.

The province also recently launched the Newcomer Employment Center (NEH) child care pilot project, in conjunction with the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce. The project helps newcomers using NEH find jobs and overcome obstacles like finding licensed child care and keeping jobs, the spokesperson wrote.

“By April 2023, the $1 million investment will support 68 fully subsidized licensed child care niches,” the spokesperson said.

Read more:

Manitoba spends $1 million to support child care services for newcomer families

The province may explore additional funding for building renovations to add child care spaces after reviewing the results of the pilot project.

But Chychkevych said hundreds of children now need child care and before- and after-school programs that are affordable and in the areas where they live.

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She worries that some mothers are pulling their older children out of school to care for the younger ones while they work.

“I’m very worried about this,” Chychkevych said.

During this time, Ostropilets takes the time to practice her English in order to be ready to enter the job market when the day comes.


Click to play video: “Manitoba announces $1 million investment to help newcomers find trusted child care”







Manitoba announces $1 million investment to help newcomers find reliable child care


Manitoba announces $1 million investment to help newcomers find reliable child care – August 18, 2022

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