Child care in Canada
Dear Katrine Conroy, MLA for Kootenay West.
We would like to bring to your attention concerns regarding the current state of child care costs and availability within our community, British Columbia, and Canada as a whole. As you are aware, in 2006, federal support for child care was changed to the universal child care benefit. After a decade of review, we as Canadians can safely identify concerns within this system.The Canadian Labour Congress illuminates the crisis regarding child care availability, noting that there are currently only 500,000 childcare spots available for the 2,230,000 Canadian children ages 0-5. This is primarily due to the lack of government investment in child care. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Canada ranks 32ndout of 34 countries in child care expenditures for children under the age of six, with British Columbia investing even less then the Canadian average. Yet,three separate studies by Prentice and McCracken, Ivanova, I, and Fairholm, R, prove that for every dollar spent on child care, there is an economic return of between $1.47 and $2.54; this is accomplished by providing parents the opportunity to re-enter the work force, in addition to, ensuring job opportunities for early childhood providers. To compound the issues, the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives – BC Office, states that British Columbia has the second highest child care fees in Canada, with median fees of $760 to $1,047 per child, per month. According to the Canada Revenue Agency, federal funding only provides $160 per month for children under the age of six and $60 per month for children ages 6-17. These high costs are subjecting families with young children to high levels of stress and pressure at a time when they are most vulnerable and stretched for resources. It is evident that the current system for childcare is not sufficient in supporting the needs of families with children.
We invite you to bring your constituents concerns to parliament to further discuss opportunities in which our government can support Canadian families.
David Felton, George Grey, Marliese Mauro, Cindy Pickering, and supportive community members.