We have dropped down a rabbit hole of bad policy on child care. The Parliamentary budget officer’s report (PBO): How Much Does the Federal Government Spend on Child Care and Who Benefits shows that changes to government tax benefits for child care means families with child care expenses receive less of the share than families with no expenses.
Even though estimated government spending on the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) and the child care expense deduction will rise to $7.7 billion this year, families with child care expenses are struggling either to find child care or to afford the skyrocketing expenses. We need a plan to grow quality, affordable child care spaces. This report adds to the mounting evidence that that individual tax measures do little to help families struggling with child care.
The Childcare Resource and Research Unit shows that child care space expansion is not keeping up with demand. Parent fees for child care are the next highest expense after housing expenses. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives 2014 survey shows parent fees in large cities claiming as much as 34-36 per cent of women’s average incomes.
This report falls on the heels of the PBO report about income splitting demonstrating that the vast majority of Canadian families will see little or no benefit from the income-splitting scheme brought in by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government.
This government has failed to provide a program to help families afford and obtain quality child care. It’s time to rethink child care and have an affordable plan that works.