Helping those that need the help
Last week in Ottawa, Olivia Chow, an NDP MP who also happens to be Leader Jack Layton’s wife, gathered the national media together to rail on the government’s proposed universal child care subsidy.
She contended that $1200 per child under the age of six is going to do nothing to help working families.
It’s obviously been a long time since an extra $100 or $200 per month meant anything to her budget. Of course, between her and her husband, they bring home $282,000 as MPS plus the $48,200 Layton gets as party leader.
An extra $100 or $200 bucks wouldn’t mean much to them, sure.
But $100 per month really does make a difference for a family just getting by. A few years ago, I had two babies and a husband in school – and I’ll tell you that $200 per month would have had a big impact on our household budget.
Another point that seems have escaped Ms. Chow (not a parent, it should be mentioned), is that most provinces already provide child care subsidies to low and mid-income families.
In BC, for three to five year olds, these subsidies range from $354 for family care to $550 for space in a group facility. A family with an after-tax pay cheque of $2500 per month or less would be eligible for the full amount and the subsidies continue on a sliding scale for families with a take-home income of up to $4100 per month.
My son's group daycare costs $575 per month and he is just turning five. For a family whose take-home pay is less than $30,000 a year, after the subsidy they would pay about $25 per month for a place at my son’s excellent centre.
The hundred dollars from the new Federal program more than covers the cost of this working family’s child care and puts extra dollars into the family for food, rent and other necessities.
It makes a real and meaningful difference to a young family just getting by in our expensive city.
Only about 13% of Canadian kids are cared for in a daycare centre, according to a StatsCanada report of February 2005. Many others are looked after by their mothers, their fathers, their grandmas or friends. Some parents work opposite shifts and develop other creative systems to care for their little ones.
This is not, as some would suggest, because there aren't enough spaces, but rather because many parents prefer not to have their children in daycare.
Because of this innovative program, the extra $100 per child under six makes a difference to these families, as well.
Families earning $50,000 a year will see about $200 of the child care amount clawed back. This is fair. We want to help those families who really need help, not hand out government cash to the wealthiest in our country.
How did you care for your kids when they were young? Does this new funding make sense for you?
As seen today in 24 Hours.