Harper Majority results in Women’s rights setbacks

CUPE/The Canadian

(CUPE.ca) — The federal government promised that one of the priorities of the federal budget budget would be “supporting families and communities”. Unfortunately, the Harper Conservatives have failed miserably on this front, especially when it comes to the women and girls of Canada.

Women continue to face a number of challenges in the labour force. Women rely heavily on public services. They often hold precarious jobs, with less pay than their male counterparts. A lack of affordable, quality child care also places an extra burden on mothers of young children. Senior women are among the poorest in the country….

No child care

This budget did absolutely nothing to address the dire need to establish a national child care program. One of the key factors to preventing child poverty and stimulating the Canadian economy is for women and mothers to be active participants in the workforce. While many women participate in the paid workforce, mothers of young children (12 and under) are unemployed or underemployed because they have no affordable, quality care for their children. But instead of supporting working mothers, this government offers meager payouts for families with young children, covering only a fraction of the cost of child care for most Canadian families.

Child care comes at an initial cost to the government, but provides significant returns through increased tax revenues. Investment in child care virtually pays for itself. At the same time investment in child care creates jobs. Child care investments in Quebec have pumped an additional $5.2 billion into the Quebec economy. Plus, earnings from increased employment send 90 cents in tax revenues back to federal and provincial governments for every dollar invested.

The federal government must build high-quality, affordable, inclusive and publicly delivered early childhood education and care services across Canada, with equitable access for all children and families. The market-based system we now have clearly does not work….

This federal budget has done nothing to improve the lives of women and girls. For many, it has made life worse. We need a federal presence to achieve equality for women, not abandon it.