Thursday, April 06, 2006

Public Childcare

It's time that I started a shouting match on this.

My mother is a pre-school teacher, so I have had the chance to meet and greet many parents who take advantage of public childcare.

Margaret Wente writes in today's Globe and Mail: "Public daycare is overwhelmingly a middle-class and upper-middle-class entitlement", as if middle-class is in minority in Canada's demographic!

I have news for you Maggie. Canada is a middle-class country. Canadian women spent decades fighting for equality. Most of us went to college and have entered the work force. We are here to stay and the desire to become parents is not going to stop us.

Some of us are teachers. Some doctors, some nurses, university professors, engineers, writers, psychiatrists, bankers and lawyers. Most of us depend on public childcare to help us get back to work after having a child. Why? Because Canada depends on us, on our expertise and our dedication to our professions.

Public childcare is not about convenience. It is about providing women the means to allow them pursue their role outside the house, while they also raise a family.

By undermining public childcare, we are asking Canadian women to choose between motherhood and career. We are taking away the achievements of thousands of women, who made it possible for us to finally be considered equal to our male counterparts in the workforce.

Canada is facing a population decline. Canadian women are too smart to think that motherhood means throwing away years of education and experience. Canadian women are great mothers but not without the means to help them balance career and family.

Let's think practical. What can $1200 a year do for a toddler?


At 10:53 a.m., Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Oooh, this is a loaded one for me. I really don't know what the best solution is. For me, at the moment, daycare - public or otherwise - is not an option: I lecture late afternoon/early evening, after daycares shut their doors. (And this is how it will be so long as I teach this particular undergrad course - it is always scheduled late in the day.) So for the moment, it would be far more useful to me to have extra $$ to pay our neighbour or a nanny or somebody to care for WonderBaby outside of business hours.

The further complication is that I don't know when/whether I want to work 9 - 5 again, in which case the whole neighbour/nanny scenario still looks best for those irregular times when I take on projects or teaching assignments.

BUT - I'm a big believer in daycare. I think that it's good for children to have the social experience that a daycare provides. And I know that daycare is the best option for many families.

I wasn't a big fan of the Liberal plan to simply pump more money into daycares - I think that mothers need and deserve more options, that the diversity of family lifestyles needs to be better accomodated. But the Conservative $1200 plan doesn't cut it either.

So where are the better ideas?

At 12:38 p.m., Blogger Michele said...

I am in the US and paying well over $1000 per month out of pocket for our boys daycare. We are solidly middle class and we could not survive without our wonderful public daycare. My kids love their daycare lady and I admire her 20+ years of dedication to caring for infants. I SO wanted a nanny for them before I went back to work but we cant swing that. In retrospect, I think the whole daycare experience has been great for them. They are very social, confident, happy and mobile one year olds and I know they are well cared for.

At 1:28 p.m., Blogger Bahar said...

Many thanks to ladies who responded. So from what I understand:

- Daycares are good. They should be accessible and affordable.

- Not everyone works 9-5. Funds should be available for moms who hire a nanny (aka baby sitter).

However, $1200 a year can't really help you with hiring a baby sitter (let's say 15 hours a week).

I suppose we need daycares as well as tax refund for mothers who don't use public childcare.

Any idead as to how this could work out?

At 2:49 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem where I live (Halifax, NS) for my family is not so much cost, but accessibility. We are having such a hard time finding daycare! Most reputable spots have waiting lists 2-3+ years. We're in a situation where we moved from Ontario to NS when my daughter was 4 mos old, as a result, we are way behind the game when it comes to waitlists. We make a very good income but there are just no spots.

At 3:06 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, found you through Ms. Eckler...
We are a single income family. Never have we been able to even fathom my going to work. Day care is great, but totally out of our financial realm. I would not make enough money to get us any further "ahead" in the grand scheme of things. My husband makes too much money to get "funding" and too little to afford childcare. In fact our son will be entering school in the fall without ever being to pre-school/nursery school. 70$ + a month and we couldn't attend every class because the one vehicle goes with my husband to his job most days. I'm frightened of the lack of socialization he has had. But we had no other choice.
The 1,200 dollars per child/year will do nothing but make our income all that higher and we will have to pay more taxes. We are at the edge of the tax bracket. This "taxable" child care thing will do nothing for us. I've been trying to get an answer as to how we can "decline it". It won't do us any good.
I'm a doula, I speak at RHA childbirth classes about birth issues... I get the occasional token payment. It gives us some extra pocket money... the new money will make us more in debt.
-who worked in a day care for two years... a great one!

At 9:11 a.m., Blogger Bahar said...

Once again, thank you very much for the great informations. Basically:

- For people who can afford private care/baby sitter $1200 wont make much of a difference

- For people who need day care, there are not enough spots available (hence the money for more daycares)

- For some people, the $1200 will just result in more taxes and won't do any good at all.

See, we have big problem. Honestly, if we were talking about $5000 tax refund, I think everyone would be happy. However, $1200 will not make anyone's live any easier.

I also agree with some people who say even if the Liberal plan goes through, the money for more daycares will go to cities like Toronto and not Halifax.

Some people e-mailed me and said that they don't want to pay taxes so that people who have children get the benefit. Here is some news I have for them:

- Who is suppoed to pay your pension when you grow old, if you don't have children of your own? These kids that are in daycare, now. So, your taxes are not going anywhere far!

At 10:17 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem is not necessarily with private childcare. It's the other constraints those businesses face like property prices and the inability to attract skilled workers to this profession because the pay is just so poor. The government cannot intervene in everything just because some women find it too expensive. Most women go to work and get educated with the expectation of it being profitable. Why should they expect that their profit will be at the expense of someone else or that society at large should pay for their wants? Most reasonable professional women don't expect luxury clothing stores to charge the same prices as the local warehouse type store. They pay more for the quality of the service and product. Why should childcare be any different?


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