When it was launched in July 2016, the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) — Canada’s main child care benefit at the national level — was celebrated by politicians and news outlets as a “game-changer” for Canadian families. Replacing the Harper Conservatives’ Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB), the “beefed-up benefits” were thought to be a win for Canadian parents.
The way the Liberals characterized the benefit, and how the benefit was subsequently portrayed in the media, was in keeping with a 20-year-old trend. Despite the fact that child care is closely linked to women’s income levels and equality at work and at home, women and gender equality have been de-emphasized in Canadian child benefits policy. In its place, the messaging focuses on child development, school preparedness and affordability for middle-class and working families