On July 20, families across the country received a lump sum payment of up to $520 for each of their children 18 and under.
This benefit is called the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) and it has cost taxpayers $2.5 billion a year since 2006, with costs increasing by billions due to expanded reach starting in 2015. The official goal of the Harper Governments is for this money to provide “choice for child care.” No government review has happened to determine if the program meets its intended goal. The consensus among childcare advocates, such as Martha Friendly, is that it has failed to create even one childcare space. (See in her report, The $17.5 billion question: Has the Universal Child Care Benefit give families “choice in child care?” published by Child Care Canada.)
On October 19 we have a real choice to make for childcare. We can give the Harper Conservatives a pass by staying silent or we can demand accountability for our future and the long awaited universal childcare plan that was canceled by Stephen Harper in 2006 in favour of his taxable UCCB cheques. I implore you to ask your family, friends and yourself, your MPs and MP candidates, exactly what choice does the UCCB allow you as a parent needing childcare? If it does not, what steps will be taken to ensure our most precious resource, our children, get the best start we can possibly give them? The solutions are ready – awaiting our collective attention. Give the interconnected social and economic benefits for communities when we invest in affordable, accessible, high-quality childcare, we have a duty to make this a priority.
-reprinted from Parry Sound North Star