RESPONSE TO THE BUDGET – CHILD CARE PROPOSAL
KIDS FIRST PARENT ASSOCIATION OF CANADA
Kids First Parent Association of Canada is calling for a budget amendment that will uphold the Constitution when it come to child care policy. All are equal under the law and that includes child care laws and policies. The Liberals can remind the provinces not to violate constitutional equality rights and risk legal action by requiring “child care choice with funding equity.” This means that all child care dollars would go to families so parents are empowered to make the best decisions for their families. This could be achieved through Refundable Tax Credits based on family size and income, without discrimination towards different forms of child care, including parental child care.
Kids First is also asking Social Development Minister Ken Dryden to apologize to Canadian parents and babysitters for stating that they provide no developmental or educational benefits to children. “We are mothers, fathers and babysitters. Canadian children would be better off if our leaders quit insulting us and said ‘thank you’ instead,” says Helen Ward, President of Kids First.
“The budget proposes that child care dollars go to the provinces on a per capita basis. But after paying for all the daycare policy creators and lobbyists and multiple bureaucracies , there won’t be much for children and the people who actually do look after them, especially parents. What’s left of the per capita share for my child will pay for a space he’s not in. Or it may subsidize a much higher income family with two parents in full-time jobs. Many families have lower incomes because they forego income in order to spend time doing unpaid work outside the GDP sector, like child rearing,” says Ward.
Kids First notes that the plans for a so-called universal child care system are getting more confusing by the day as the tax-funded daycare lobby attempts to disguise the politically unmarketable belief that daycare is best for all and that parents don’t do child care.
By proposing a 5 billion dollar Child Care Trust Fund with no program or policy, the Liberals are inviting the wrath of Auditor General Sheila Fraser, who has recently condemned federal trust funds as not accountable to parliament.
“The daycare crisis is not a shortage of daycare spaces in Canada; it is the shortage of children in them. 53.7% of licensed daycares report vacancies, and the vacancy rate is 16.3% according to the $900,000 ‘You Bet I Care!’ study. In Quebec they had to admit that saying the ‘waiting lists are full’ is misleading because they list children who are not even born or are already in daycare or are on multiple lists,” says Ward.
Kids First and Citizens in Favour of Equal Government Childcare Subsidies for All Children in Quebec have met with legal council towards a challenge to governmental discrimination against parental child care. The prospect of billions of dollars in retroactive compensation to parents seeking redress may have influenced Quebec to increase funding to families for the first time since it introduced its “$5 a day ” daycare program. The program is used by less than 25% of Quebec children.
The Opposition has recognized and exposed the lack of public support for preferentially funding daycare: A recent poll/study by the respected Vanier Institute of the Family says 9 out of 10 Canadians would prefer to have a parent looking after the children and ranked parental care first and daycare fifth as a child care preference.
Social Development Minister, Hon. Ken Dryden, responded to the study by saying parents’ child care preferences are like wanting to eat chocolate twice a day and lose weight at the same time. He said parents should be like him and just cope with the guilt of not being with their kids.
CONTACT: Helen Ward (BC), President, Kids First Parent Association of Canada, www.kidsfirstcanada.org, 604-291-0088
Yvonne Coupal (QUE), Coordinator, Citizens in Favour of Equal Government Childcare Subsidies for All Children, Les Citoyen(ne)s En Faveur de l’Équité Fiscale des Subventions pour Soins de Garde pour Tous les Enfants, 450-966-6124
Beverly Smith (ALB) Editor Caregivers’ Newsletter, 403-283-2400