Spending money on day care better than on ads

Laila Yuile, 24 hours Vancouver

Should B.C. bring in $10-per-day child care?

… The $10-per-day plan, proposed by the Coalition of Child Care Advocates in B.C., is not just about providing accessible and safe child care for parents, it’s about investing in the future and our economy. In fact, the plan has been soundly endorsed by businesses across the province, including the Burnaby and Surrey Boards of Trade, who say work-life conflicts with employees with preschool-aged children are costing B.C. businesses approximately $600 million a year.

It’s not only the business community that recognizes the economic and social benefits of this plan, leading economists do as well. Craig Alexander, chief economist for TD Bank and one of the top bank economists in Canada, states that for every dollar a government invests in child care, the return is between $1.50 and $3. Canadian economist Pierre Fortin has also shown that in Quebec, the program now pays for itself.

The economic benefits are clear as parents who can access affordable child care can re-enter the work force and that pumps money into our communities via income taxes and earned dollars spent locally. In Quebec, more 70,000 women with young children re-entered the workforce in the first 10 years of their child-care program, and resulted in billions of dollars back into the economy.

Still thinking of taxpayer-funded child care as a stupid venture?

Premier Christy Clark has stated the province doesn’t have money for this program. Ironically, while declaring spending must be kept low, government advertising expenditures have ballooned to more than $64 million since she became premier.

In fact, there are a number of low-cost implementation steps Victoria could act on immediately if the will was there to make a commitment to an affordable child-care plan, and the Coalition of Child Care Advocates has outlined them on its site at cccabc.bc.ca. In the face of the growing number of endorsements from leading bank economists, boards of trade, parents and businesses alike, the government’s refusal to make child care a priority is foolish.

I say it’s time to cut back on government advertising, cut back on bureaucratic expenses and start making an investment in our provincial economy via the $10-per-day child-care plan.