Today’s parents struggle to raise a family

Cara Brady, Vernon Morning Star

Canada has become a country where the generation now raising children is finding it far harder than those before them.

Lynell Anderson, senior researcher, Human Early Learning Partnership UBC, in her presentation Business and Community Leaders: Does Canada Work for Families?, said many Canadians are not aware of how changes in society have changed families.

“The generation raising young children today has less time at home because they need to work longer hours to earn what is essentially the same income as the previous generation. The cost of housing has increased and more mothers are working outside the home, and families are finding it difficult to find and afford quality childcare,” Anderson told the meeting sponsored by the North Okanagan Early Childhood Development Coalition.

“If we can address these issues early, we can anticipate significant growth in the economy and well being of our society.”

She admitted that it is hard to engage people in the urgency of addressing a vision with benefits that will be seen years into the future.

“We also have to see the immediate value of public policy changes for families with young children,” she said….

New incentives would decrease the work week and changes to the National Child Benefit Supplement would ensure that any reduction in employment hours would not reduce income in low-earning families.

“Governments have reduced seniors’ poverty but despite commitments to work against children’s poverty, not as much has been done,” said Anderson.

“The UNICEF 2008 report places Canada at the bottom of the 25 wealthiest countries in family policies. We have to work together to support each other and the changing realities for young families. Our future is going to be compromised economically and socially if we don’t get involved to retain a healthy, well-trained work force.”

Anderson said the New Deal for Families builds on what already exists and is economically sustainable as money spent there would mean less spent on health care and child welfare….

Read online