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No lifeline for women and children in today's budget?

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CRRU Pre-Budget Press Release
Childcare Resource and Research Unit
Press release
Publication Date: 
27 Jan 2009
Details about the federal budget that have been leaked in the last few days have prompted increasing alarm among advocates for women and children. "An economic stimulus budget without childcare will mean that women and children are last in the lineup for the lifeboats", said Martha Friendly, Executive Director of the Toronto-based Childcare Resource and Research Unit today. "Without a government that is going to make sure that they have a lifeline, women and children are going to carry a large part of the burden of hard times from this recession".

"Canada can't work without childcare", continued Ms. Friendly, "and economists and social policy experts tell us that spending money on good childcare is smart economics". While women carry the brunt of working and caring in hard times, there is no hint that the budget will contain measures to help women and their families weather the recession.

During the pre-budget consultations, the Childcare Resource and Research Unit (CRRU) advanced the idea that a publicly funded childcare system can both stimulate the economy and support women, children and families in hard economic times. Good quality early childhood education and childcare is a strong job creator, an excellent use of physical infrastructure funds, helps keep people out of poverty, and educates Canada's future citizens.

"But it's looking as though women will be on their own - will need to work harder than ever both in the paid labour force and in the home to make ends meet, training or returning to school, trying to balance work and family demands and usually being the primary caregivers at the same time &em; all without the support of the high quality, affordable childcare system that Canada lacks. We need a plan &em; infrastructure, public funds to make programs affordable and high quality, and good policy to make sure it all works and the money is well spent".

Canada has become internationally notorious for its deficient track record on women's equality, social and family benefits and early childhood education and childcare. CRRU's pre-budget brief pointed out that good childcare contributes to timely, short-term economic stimulus and longer term economic prosperity and competitiveness, to women's equality and children's well-being.

For further information: Martha Friendly, Executive Director, Childcare Resource and Research Unit &em; 416 926 9264, 416 562 7579 (mobile)