Time for some common sense in childcare debate

May 15, 2015

I’ve always wondered why common sense sometimes seems to be in such short supply in the halls of government. Public policies that are no-brainers for the general public are often met with stiff resistance in some government quarters.

In Canada early childhood education has become a political football in an effort to score points with governments’ political base. Too often, ideology trumps pragmatism in the development of public policy.

Some governments believe that tax credits provide parents with adequate resources to access childcare. But the reality is that tax credits haven’t created a single extra childcare space in Canada, and do nothing to address affordability for working parents.

The tax credit system rolled out by the federal Conservatives represents only a small fraction of the real costs of childcare, with no guarantee that the money will be spent of providing childcare services.

Under the current federal-provincial system, only 18 per cent of children under 12 in B.C. have access to a licensed, regulated childcare space. Parents who are able to find a space for their child are almost paying their housing costs twice. Fees for B.C. toddlers are second highest in Canada, at $1,215/ month average.

For parents, it really is a no-brainer, and all the economic and social data supports the common sense solution – universal, publicly funded $10/day childcare for all Canadians.

Every dollar invested in publicly regulated childcare returns at least $2.54 to the broader economy. Quebec’s $7/day childcare system returns $1.05 revenue to government for every $1.00 invested, and Ottawa recovers $.44 with no direct investment.

Investments in childcare provide a greater job multiplier effect for our economy than any other sector – not just in added childcare spaces, but in the general economy as family savings are spent in other areas.

On every level, it makes common sense to support child care services for parents and the general public. Please take a few minutes to check out the $10 a day childcare campaign site to find out more information and sign the online petition. Working and learning families need it, and our children deserve it.

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I am glad to see this campaign. Thank you