Women’s opportunities hindered by lack of national childcare policy

Mar 15, 2016

Laura Hanrahan, The McGill Tribune 

"During his 2015 campaign, Justin Trudeau made hundreds of promises to Canadian voters—one was the creation of a framework for a national childcare policy within the first 100 days of a Liberal government; however, more than four months after assuming office, Trudeau has not delivered on this promise. Alleviating the burden of child care will improve women’s ability to access career opportunities. WithCanada’s gender wage gap of women to men remaining below 70 cents to the dollar—largely due to women working in part-time, temporary, and lower level jobs due to the demands of family care—the Liberal government needs to take action immediately. Despite the fact that subsidized child care has been offered to a limited extent in Canada with a relative degree of success, the government needs to look elsewhere for the model upon which they will base their national policy.

Currently, Quebec is the only province in Canada to offer a government subsidized child care program. The provincial government has been lauded for its forward-thinking initiative, which was established in fall 1997. Initially costing users a flat-rate of $7 per child, per day, Quebec child care now comes at a cost of $7.55 with an additional sliding-scale system tax for families with an income over $50,545. Since its implementation, employment rate for Quebec women doubled, poverty rates dropped by 14 per cent, while the GDP rose by 1.7 per cent. Due to these successes, it has been promoted as the system which should be used throughout all of Canada. The Quebec system, however, has its fair share of shortcomings that cannot be overlooked. The issues that it has already experienced call into question its long-term viability, making it infeasible to implement, as is, at the national level."

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