Affordable child care plan

This past week, I was proud to help release details of a campaign commitment by Canada’s New Democrats to work with the provinces to create one million new child-care spaces and to limit the cost of these new spaces to $15 per day per child for parents.
I was happy to help launch this commitment in Thunder Bay as our leader, Tom Mulcair, did so in Ottawa and others did so elsewhere.
We promised that a federal NDP government will work with the provinces, territories and indigenous communities to fund and develop a national child-care program guided by universal principles like affordability, availability, and quality.
We will provide predictable funding so that provinces and communities can plan ahead, and set measurable benchmarks with publicly-available reporting so you can make sure we are staying on track.
We are committed to delivering one million new child-care spaces over eight years at a cost to parents of no more than $15 per day per child, and at a cost to the federal government of $5 billion over eight years.
So why is such a plan needed? The answer is quite simple: child care has become too expensive for most parents and this is hurting both families and the economy.
During my press conference in Thunder Bay, I cited the example of George and Judy, who just welcomed their first child.
Judy plans to go back to work when young Matthew turns one. But if they send Matthew to Little Lions Waldorf Daycare in Thunder Bay, they would have to pay 68.4 percent of Judy’s monthly income on child-care fees if she made the median wage for a woman in Thunder Bay.
Now just imagine if Judy was making less than the average women, or if she was a single mother.
We have put this plan forward because New Democrats believe that George and Judy, and every mother and father, should have the choice of going back to work after having a child.
Unfortunately, child-care fees today average $1,152 per month ($38.40 per day) in Ontario.
Capping the rate for new child-care spaces at $15 per day per child ($300 per month) will give parents the option of returning to the workforce if they wish, and enable them to do so knowing their child will be well taken care of by licensed and professional child-care providers and knowing there will be room left in the budget at the end of the month.
So how will we pay for it? The total cost of our child-care plan is $5 billion over eight years and it will be phased in over five years.
TD Bank published a report last week that estimated the federal government will have a cumulative total surplus of more than $56 billion over those same five years.
If this estimate is accurate, then the federal government will have enough money–in surpluses alone–to implement 10 child-care plans of this size without having to increase taxes or cut other services.
One overlooked benefit of our child-care plan is that it actually will help our economy and actually increase the amount of tax revenue the federal and provincial governments take in.
With parents having an extra $850 per month, up to one million more people in the workforce, and more economic activity as a result, the economic argument for this plan is strong.
In fact, a TD Bank research survey suggests that for every one dollar invested in early childhood education, the benefits to provincial and federal governments range from $1.49-$2.78 through increased tax revenues and decreased social spending.
It also is worth noting at this point what our child-care plan is not. Under our plan, no parent ever will be forced to enroll their child into a child-care facility of any kind if they do not wish to.
In fact, our plan finally will give parents a true choice in that regard. We also will keep the $100 per month Universal Childcare Benefit that was put in place by the current government.
New Democrats have a plan to make life better and more affordable for Canadians, and I was proud to help introduce part of our plan last week.
We can help families, children, and the economy by investing in affordable child-care. And unlike the other parties and leaders, Tom Mulcair and Canada’s New Democrats are ready, willing, and able to get the job done.