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Mixed reviews for child care cash [CA]

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Vanraes, Shannon
Publication Date: 
24 Jul 2006

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The federal Conservative government's new Universal Child Care Benefit has not met with universal approval in Portage la Prairie.

"I don't think it's a good deal," said Heather Leeman, program co-ordinator at Portage's Young Parent's Resource Centre (YPRC). "It's not possible to get quality child care on $100 a month."

Under the new plan, which goes into action this month, families with children under the age of six will receive $100 per child, per month for child care.

Leeman said many parents who use the resource centre share her sentiment and know first-hand $100 is an inadequate amount.

Since the child-care money is considered taxable income and may be affected by other circumstances the recipient is in, Leeman said the actual amount a family receives could be as low as $20.

April Krastel, executive director at Portage Day Care Centre Inc., pointed out a second problem with the child-care credit's taxable status.

Since the money is considered taxable income, some parents may be pushed into a higher tax bracket, making them ineligible for child-care subsidy programs. In that case, parents would actually end up paying more for child care than if they had never received Stephen Harper's benefit in the first place.

However, some parents are looking forward to receiving the extra money.

Portager Giselle Pichette, a single mom with a two-year-old son, believes the benefit is a good idea, especially after her day-care costs recently increased.

Portage-Lisgar Conservative MP Brian Pallister also believes the taxable benefit will have a positive impact on families.

"Constituents have expressed significant support for this initiative and want to see increased flexibility for families when making child-care decisions," he said.

- reprinted from the Portage La Prairie