The federal government’s announcements today on the Universal Child Care Benefit and income-splitting will leave most working families behind and discourage labour force participation, says Canadian Labour Congress president Hassan Yussuff.
“This is an expensive and reckless plan that ignores the reality faced by most working families today,” said Yussuff. “The government should be using the surplus in ways that benefit all Canadian families, not just the wealthiest 14 per cent,” he added.
The CLC has long advocated for a national child care strategy that would create affordable child care spaces. Doing so would stimulate economic growth by allowing more parents — particularly mothers — to join the workforce, create good jobs for child care workers and boost the productivity of workers who can focus on their jobs, knowing that their children are safe and well-cared for.
How does this plan help parents who can’t find child care spaces to begin with? How does this help parents in Toronto and other urban centres who are paying $2,000 a month per child?” Yussuff asked.
“We need a child care program that creates affordable child care spaces and helps mothers participate fully and equally in paid employment and what this government has given us is the opposite,” he added.
Research into similar programs in the United States and Europe show that such programs decrease women’s participation in the labour force. At the same time, men’s participation stays the same, resulting in a net loss to the economy through fewer hours worked. Child care programs have the opposite effect, increasing labour force participation and total hours worked.
“With an aging population, Canada needs more people working, not fewer,” said Yussuff. “Spending billions to discourage mothers from working is economically upside-down and backwards.”