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FEDERAL ELECTION 2015: Ask your Kenora Riding Candidate part 3 — Child Care

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.

A series of questions posed to Kenora riding candidates in the lead-up to the 2015 federal election

Child Care: Parents of young children who seek to return to the workforce may find a significant portion of their earnings eroded by childcare costs — that is if they are able to find an available space for their child. Local rates for licensed child care ($40-45/day for kids aged 1.5 – 5 years, or $66/day for infant-1.5 years) can cost between $800-$1,300 per month — akin to a second mortgage. What is your party’s plan to address the cost, availability and quality of childcare resources for Canadian families.

Bob Nault: Liberal Party of Canada

Liberal Party Of Canada candidate Bob Nault

Over the Harper decade, families in our riding have fallen further and further behind. With the unemployment rate double the provincial average at close to 13%, parents are struggling to find the good-paying jobs that will allow them to raise their children the way they want to. Families in our riding need real change. They need a system that makes raising children more affordable but also allows them to make their own choices about how best to do that. They need more money in their pockets, and they need it today.

Unlike the Conservatives and the NDP, a Liberal government will not give benefit cheques to millionaires. A Liberal government would create a Canada Child Benefit to provide larger, tax-free, monthly benefits to help families raise their children. It will give parents up to $6,400 per year per child and will give 9 out of 10 families more money than Mr. Harper or Mr. Mulcair’s plans. And the best part is – it won’t just benefit families that rely on the daycare system. This plan is for every family in our riding.

While the NDP are proposing to implement $15/day childcare, they fail to tell you that it will take 8 years for any of these spaces to come into effect. They also fail to mention that their plan builds on existing child care spaces, meaning they only plan to create 14,000 spaces over 8 years, not the million they claim to be creating. Families in our riding need change now, not in 8 years.

A Liberal government will also give parents interested in parental leave more options. We will amend the Canada Labour Code to provide every federally regulated worker with the legal right, without fear of reprisal, to request more flexible working conditions, including flexible start and finish times, or the ability to work from home. Parents choosing to take parental leave will be allowed to receive their benefits in smaller blocks of time over 18 months. For example, a single mother could receive benefits for six months, then return to work for six months, then go back on parental leave and receive benefits for the final six months.

A Liberal government is also committed to boosting funding for social infrastructure by nearly $20 billion in the next ten years. This commitment will mean new, dedicated funding for early learning and childcare facilities. It will build the facilities required to create more childcare spaces, ensure our kids enjoy safe updated facilities, and get cost down. To see how much your family will benefit from our plan, visit www.liberal.ca/fairness.

Howard Hampton: New Democratic Party

NDP Candidate Howard Hampton

An NDP government will make sure there’s a quality space for every child-and that no parent pays more than $15 a day.

The cost of childcare is breaking household budgets.  The average Canadian family is paying $1000 per month, per child and sometimes as much as $2000.  Almost 900,000 kids across Canada are without access to affordable childcare.

Too many mothers, in particular, are sacrificing career goals because they can’t find affordable care.  Work-life conflict experienced by employees with preschool children costs the Canadian business community $4 billion per year.

Families deserve better.

Stephen Harper promised to create 125,000 new childcare spaces but he’s failed to deliver even one.  Instead his government introduced  a costly income-splitting scheme that mostly helps the wealthiest and leaves 85% of Canadian families with nothing.

The last time the Liberals were in power, they repeatedly promised to deliver a national childcare plan-but failed to get the job done through 12 years of majority government.  Liberals have already said they won’t pledge to reintroduce that program.  The Liberals’ tax plan for families won’t create a single childcare space and their proposed income tax cut does nothing at all for families making less than $44,700 a year.

The NDP will work with provinces to deliver a Canada-wide early childhood education and childcare program.  We’ll create or maintain a million quality childcare spaces in Canada-where parents pay no more than $15 a day.

As a former Quebec Cabinet Minister, Tom saw firsthand how that province’s universal, affordable childcare program helped families and boosted the economy.  We can build on the success of that program to help families across the country.

Studies show that for every dollar invested in childcare, our economy grows by $2.  In Quebec there are 70,000 more women working since affordable childcare came to Quebec.  That’s good for our economy.  That’s good for increased revenues.  And that’s good for our children.

 

Ember McKillop: Green Party of Canada

Green Party of Canada candidate Ember McKillop

Parents of young children who seek to return to the workforce may find a significant portion of their earnings eroded by childcare costs — that is if they are able to find an available space for their child. Local rates for licensed child care ($40-45/day for kids aged 1.5 – 5 years, or $66/day for infant-1.5 years) can cost between $800-$1,300 per month — akin to a second mortgage. What is your party’s plan to address the cost, availability and quality of childcare resources for Canadian families.

The Green Party plan for improving Canadian child care access takes a very different approach.  Not only does the plan aim to improve Canadian’s ability to afford child care, it will also increase the number of child care spaces in innovative ways.

To improve access to child care, the Green plan is to restore and revamp the 2005 agreement made with all levels of government to achieve a universal child care program.  We will support parents who make the decision to stay home with their children instead of heading straight back into the workforce, and create a national Children’s Commisioner (as recommended by UNICEF) to ensure children’s best interests are considered in policy development and that services across the country are better coordinated.

To create more childcare spaces, the Green Party will accelerate the creation of workplace child care spaces through a direct tax credit to employers (or groups of employers in small businesses) of $1500 tax credit/child per year.  Not only does this make child care more readily available, it reduces transportation costs and associated pollution, makes taking mass transit more attractive, and cuts down on the amount of time parents spend travelling to and from work.

 

Greg Rickford: Conservative Party

Conservative Party of Canada’s Greg Rickford

How we raise our children has an important impact on their future success. That is why our Conservative party has always believed that child care is something best left to the experts: Mom and Dad.

We understand that each family’s situation is unique and cannot be covered by a one-size-fits-all approach to child care. Our Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) provides the flexibility Northwestern Ontario families want and need by delivering the benefit directly to parents, every month. That way, as parents, you can decide what child care option best suits you and your family.

Most recently, our Government increased and expanded our child care benefit to reach more parents. We increased the benefit for families with children under the age of six who now receive up to $2,000 per year, per child.

We expanded the benefit to families with children between the ages of six and seventeen will receive $720, recognizing that a little extra can go a long way in helping to cover everyday costs, sports team and activities for your children.

Our child care benefit reaches every, single Canadian family with children; something neither the Liberals nor NDP offer. In fact, both the NDP and Liberals would take away our Conservative Government’s child care benefit.

I think it is important to say here that the promises of the other parties do not provide the flexibility that reflect our values or circumstances in Northwestern Ontario. Instead, the NDP is promising a Made-in-Toronto approach to child care: state-run daycares.

As I visited many neighbourhoods over the last nine weeks, I share your concern and disbelief that these state-run daycares would ever reach Dryden or Kenora, let alone smaller communities like Ignace or Red Lake. What’s worse, if you work night shifts, the NDP has nothing to offer your family with this approach.

Regardless, our Conservative party will continue in our commitment to make life more affordable for Canadian families through our low-tax approach- because helping families get ahead is what this is really about at the end of the day. Since 2006, we have lowered taxes for the average family of four by $6, 600.

Only our Conservative party would deliver lower taxes for families by extending income-splitting to couples, providing even more flexibility for one parent to care for their children.

 

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