April 29, 2008
PROVINCE INTRODUCES WHAT WOULD BE CANADA'S FIRST LEGISLATED CHILD-CARE SAFETY CHARTER
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Safety Plans, Codes of Conduct Would be Mandated: Mackintosh
Family Services and Housing Minister Gord Mackintosh today introduced legislation that would require comprehensive safety plans and codes of conduct for Manitoba's 1,113 licensed child-care programs.
"While we have made good advances to better protect the safety of school children through the Safe Schools Charter, children in child care deserve no less," said Mackintosh. "Child-care environments are generally safe but we must always be vigilant to reduce the risk of harm."
The charter would build on a history of regulations that have tended to focus on fire safety and would require each program to establish a safety policy plan to include:
- visitor access control;
- procedures to safety check both indoor and outdoor
- emergency practice drills;
- respective roles in the event of an emergency;
- emergency procedures to deal with bomb threats, fires,
chemical spills, weather- and
health-related emergencies, threatening behaviour, evacuation, parent contact and communications especially with a school or another organization in the same building; and
- policies to meet the needs of children who have
As well, the charter would require each program to develop a code of conduct to include:
- what constitutes unacceptable behaviour, consistent
with the developmental capabilities of children enrolled including bullying, abuse, discrimination and other harmful conduct;
- use of e-mail, electronic devices and the Internet;
- application to not only children but also staff and
- consequences for unacceptable behaviour.
Each safety plan and code of conduct would have to be approved by the director of child-care services and be reviewed annually by the facility.
Concurrently, work is underway to develop a protocol with police agencies to help ensure facilities are notified when a dangerous situation develops in the vicinity.
New resources, including departmental staff and model codes and safety plans, would assist programs to comply with the charter. Facilities would be given 18 months from royal assent to conclude their codes and plans.