Canada-wide child-care plan is needed
Re Ottawa can shape the future of work, Editorial Oct. 30
Your editorial’s strong support of a strengthened social safety net as part of the solution to support precarious workers is welcomed, especially by the hundreds of thousands of Canadian parents who work one or more short-term or low-paid jobs and still cannot lift themselves above the poverty line.
Indeed, nearly 1 in 3 low-income children had at least one parent who worked the equivalent of full time. For these families, the Canada Child Benefit is essential support that helps to reduce hunger and balance the monthly income and expenses.
It’s a mistake, however, to expect families to use the CCB to pay for child-care services. First, far too few parents can find suitable, convenient child-care services. Today’s parents face high childcare fees while also paying down student loans and high housing costs.
And the CCB, as helpful as it is, is not enough to pay for child care. Low- and modest-income families need both the child benefit and the availability of high quality, affordable child care that they can find in their communities as they pursue training and/or employment in an effort to become economically stable.
All other industrialized countries that have significantly reduced child poverty to below 5 per cent have also developed well-re- sourced systems of early childhood education and care services. Canada must act expeditiously to do the same. Laurel Rothman, Campaign 2000: End Child Poverty Steering Committee, Toronto
Your editorial advice about strengthening Canada’s social safety net as part of shaping the future of decent work is absolutely right. A “universal, quality, affordable child-care system” is desparately needed by young families. An OECD report says the lack of affordable child care keeps young women out of the workforce and shows Canadian childcare fees as among the world’s highest.
The lack of a serious Canada-wide child-care plan, long a women’s equality issue, a poverty issue and an education issue, is fast becoming a youth issue. Martha Friendly, executive director, Childcare Resource and Research Unit, Toronto