At the Canadian Chamber of Commerce's annual general meeting (AGM), held Sept. 28-29, 2014 in Charlottetown, P.E.I, the Surrey Board of Trade submitted a resolution, Reforming Canada's Child Care Plan. The Surrey Board of Trade received the unanimous support from the nation's business leaders to have the Canadian Government:
1. Work with the provinces and territories to fully examine the potential impact on productivity and the Canadian GDP of a countrywide system of child care with possible implications for child care rates and spaces.
2. Ensure that the findings and policy recommendations associated with the aforementioned study should be delimited by, and respect, provincial jurisdictional limitations, as well as fiscal considerations, associated with the implementation of child care policy.
"The Surrey Board of Trade is pleased to see that child care is on the business and economic agenda, especially as in BC, and across the nation, we face skill and labour shortages. Parents need more support. It was wonderful to see the unanimous support from the delegates from the provinces of Alberta and Ontario. The Surrey Board of Trade referenced that Canadian productivity and economic competition would increase with a focus on child care. The study by the federal government will substantiate our perspective", said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.
Even though Prime Minister Stephen Harper introduced a taxable Universal Child Care Benefit through his government seven years ago, the benefit for any working parent, searching for child care in this country, ca'/t find child care anywhere close to $100 a month.
The current reality in Canada is that women race to get their names on waiting lists for daycare even before the child is born. Young families, especially in cities such as Surrey and Vancouver, where the cost of care is highest in the country, are being priced out of parenthood. Businesses are losing employees who don't return after parental leave because the stress of finding good child-care is not worth it. "That is why child-care is an issue for a business association."
At the AGM, the Surrey Board of Trade's resolution was approved by the Canadian Chamber's member chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 200,000 Canadian businesses. The Surrey Board of Trade resolution is now a policy position of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and its members and will be pursued with the federal government over the coming months by the Surrey Board of Trade as well as the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.