For years, there’s been intense–and necessary–focus on the necessity of affordable childcare.
For that reason, people might be happy to hear that the federal government’s 2017 budget proposes to invest $7 billion over 10 years, beginning in 2018-19, to “support and create more high-quality, affordable child care spaces across the country.”
Ideally, the investments–so necessary at a time when housing is incredibly expensive and the cost of living so high–will work to increase the number of affordable child care spaces for both low and modest income families. With better child care options available, parents should (hopefully, anyways) be able to find it easier to return to work or school once parental leave ends.
“The Canadian story is about the promise that, with optimism and hard work, a better life is possible for everyone. Access to affordable and quality childcare is too often a barrier for many Canadians who struggle with the need to work or return to school,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a statement. “That is not right. High-quality, affordable child care is critical for helping parents who want to join the middle class. This investment would provide important relief to hard-working Canadian parents across the country.”
According to the government, this funding is in addition to an initial investment of $500 million announced in the 2016 budget. The investment could support up to 40,000 new subsidized child care spaces.
Right now, the federal government says it’s working with provinces and territories to develop a national framework on early learning and child care that focuses on best practices and innovative approaches. Also, a specific Indigenous framework will be created in cooperation with Indigenous partners.
With Budget 2017, the government will continue to deliver the things that matter most to Canadians: good jobs, healthy living, strong communities, and better opportunities for future generations.
While some people disagree on what steps the government can and should take to help families with very young children, investing in child care is an important step in the right direction–especially since many parents must–and want to–return to work post-birth. Since child care is an enormous expense (and therefore a significant hardship) for many low and modest-income families, this step will no doubt provide, if not relief, the reassurance that the government is acknowledging the financial challenges new parents face in a country that’s becoming increasingly expensive to live in.