March 17, 2023
To: Members of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA), House of Commons
As a leading voice promoting wellbeing for all generations, Generation Squeeze welcomes the introduction of Bill C-35, and its affirmation of the importance of affordable and high-quality child care for families across Canada. We appreciate that the Act recognizes the contribution of child care to gender equality, as well as to the economic vitality of Canada more generally.
We recommend that the Act set $10 a day as the maximum fee that parents across Canada will pay to access quality child care.
Capping fees at $10 will help to guarantee the long-term success and survival of the nascent publicly funded child care system – Canada’s first new social program of the last half century. Charging affluent families higher fees at the door grows their motivation to explore alternate private care options. This is a risk we don’t tolerate for primary and second education, or for medical care. Instead, progressive tax rates tied to income ask affluent individuals to contribute more to schools, hospitals and clinics by paying higher taxes over their lives. We should support a national, affordable child care system in the same fashion.
We recommend that no child care fee is charged to low-income families. This includes households with incomes below $45,000.
Families with young children have some of the highest rates of low-income status in Canada – consistently higher than rates for older people. Eliminating child care fees for the most economically vulnerable families will ensure that quality child care options are available to them to support child development, gender equality, and make it easier for new parents to choose to return to work.
Generation Squeeze is a charitable Think and Change Tank promoting wellbeing for all generations. We champion generational fairness to preserve what Canadians hold sacred – a healthy childhood, home and planet – so we all leave a proud legacy. Generational unfairness is the underlying disease driving some of Canada's biggest problems, including the high cost of raising a family.
Health science is clear that the conditions into which we are born, grow, live, work, and age are especially important at early ages. Improving these conditions can prevent more damaging and costly problems down the road. Since we only have one chance to get people off to a good start, we have a responsibility to plan and invest in young people’s wellbeing, just as much as the aging population. A national child care system with a maximum fee of $10 a day, and no fee for low-income families, will help us to live up to this responsibility.