Earlier this year the Women’s Centre hosted an online event to reflect on what a Gender-Just Recovery might look like as we continue to move through the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the five pillars discussed was child care – child care that is universally accessible, publicly funded and coordinated to meet the needs of all parents and caregivers.
But the importance of universal child care goes beyond recovering from COVID-19; we know that robust and well-funded universal health care leads to better outcomes for children, women, families, and communities. Women are better positioned to participate in the workforce, seek training, and participate outside of the home when affordable child care is available.
The Women’s Centre of Calgary believes that all children and families deserve equal access to affordable and quality childcare, but how do we move towards a childcare system that works for everyone?
With the federal election happening on September 20th this year, we have the opportunity to examine the platforms recently released by the major parties* in terms of child care provisions. While child care is an major component in all of the platforms, there are different visions of what the best approach is. Let’s break them down to get a better understanding of how the parties want to tackle the ongoing issue of child care in Canada.
The Liberal Party has spent the spring and summer of 2021 working with eight provinces and territories with the goal of eventually providing $10 per day child care – this commitment is featured in the Liberal’s 2021 platform. The longer term goal is to have fully implemented $10 per day child care available nationwide by 2026.
The NDP’s platform child care plank is quite similar to that of the Liberal party, focusing on the need for affordable, accessible, and universal $10 per day child care in all communities. It also includes commitments to the creation of more child care spaces to meet existing and future demand, as well as a living wage for child care workers.
The Conservative Party’s platform seeks to dismantle the existing provincial agreement structure and instead grant parents and families a refundable tax credit covering up to 75% of child care costs. It touts the need for choice and flexibility for Canadian families and parents.
In essence, there are two main ways of approaching a national child care strategy as outlined in the platforms from main federal parties. Both the NDP and Liberal Party support a $10/day universal child care model that would be accessible to all Canadian families and parents. The Conservative Party supports a direct refund to families in the form of a tax credit covering up to 75% of child care costs to families (to a maximum of $6000.) Regardless of which child care strategy you prefer, it is important to note all parties agree that child care is a national issue requiring a new strategy to meet the needs of Canadians.
To find more information about voting on September 20th please visit: https://elections.ca/home.aspx
Party Platforms can be found:
*at the time of writing, the Green Party of Canada had not released an official party platform for the 2021 election.