Excerpts from the Alternative Federal Budget:
Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) is a priority for the AFB, as we recognize its vital role in supporting women, children, families, communities, and the economy. In 2003, after 30 years of research and community advocacy, the federal government began to acknowledge that lack of child care is a major gap in Canada's family policy. This was reflected in the bilateral agreements on high-quality, affordable, inclusive child care signed with all of the provinces in 2005.
The new federal government has now advised the provinces that the Bilateral Agreements on Early Learning and Child Care will be terminated on March 31, 2007. These Agreements will be replaced with a universal taxable allowance of $1,200 per child, per year, payable directly to families beginning July, 2006.
While income supports for families are a valid public policy goal, they are not a replacement for a national child care system. Transferring money directly to parents does not provide child care "choice," nor does it create more child care spaces. We expect the new minority Parliament to honour the existing commitments made to children, women, families, and child care workers across the country through the 2005 bilateral agreements.
The Alternative Federal Budget would:
- honour Canada's commitment to families and to provincial and territorial governments to support child care and continue to provide funding for a national child care system;
- ensure that a new allowance for children is not clawed back from families receiving social assistance; and
- use the Canada Child Tax Benefit as the delivery vehicle for new financial resources directed to families with young children.