By Paula Simons and Sophie Gaillard, CNN • Updated 31st June 2015
On May 27, 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled a plan to make child care more affordable for Canadian parents, but it must be phased in gradually.
We must move forward together.
Greater Toronto now has more workers aged 25-64 with a university degree than workers aged 35-64. This job market is one of the strongest in the world. We must harness our talent to ensure Canada remains a prosperous country and great place to live.
Yet our current child care system leaves the brightest of our young people out in the cold.
The consensus is that current child care is unaffordable for most working parents, particularly those on minimum wage or lower.
We need to ensure our youngest workers are ready to enter the workforce.
I’m not sure I can remember a better example of how to create generational consensus.
Or of a way to strike the right balance between too much government intervention, too little and the one solution that will make all the difference.
Specifically, the investment plan outlined by the prime minister in May has focused on accessible, affordable child care for the middle class and low-income families.
This is the future for all of us.
With a dedicated dedicated tax-funded plan to provide childcare subsidized by the government at fair market rates, with the highest priority given to those in the lowest income groups, this plan is completely in line with the priorities of Canadians.
We will have Ontario children in extended care as early as the age of three, if not sooner.
The consensus is that the quality of child care increases with the costs.
As a result, the price tag on this essential pillar of our social safety net grows alongside it.
It means more government spending, more debt and a greater drain on the already stretched public purse.
It also means that for the foreseeable future, other challenges, such as the burden on schools of providing increased support and special education and the dire situation for those incarcerated, will continue to spiral out of control.
Highly qualified teachers, low-income child care workers and social workers should be left alone and supported to help children thrive.
Regrettably, your province, the City of Ottawa and even your mayor do not support the plan outlined by Prime Minister Trudeau.
Instead, you have suggested a set of tax breaks that might result in childcare for the middle class and low-income families.
Let me be very clear: Your efforts to slow down the climb up the income ladder are the antithesis of Canada’s egalitarian dream, which we stand on today.
But more importantly, the plan before us would ensure that all Canadians who work are able to participate in the labour force, better support their family and reach their potential.
Before we go on, please know that the federal government and I are committed to working with all levels of government to develop a more advanced strategy for this important piece of the Canadian social safety net.
Our plan to expand access to accessible and affordable child care is not government’s to choose but Canadians’ to make.
We must move forward together.
If we don’t, Canada loses not only our talent, but also the opportunity to achieve our collective dreams and aspirations for our children and for our future.