One of the five main priorities of the Conservative election platform was to support families. In recognition that no two families have exactly the same child care needs, we developed a program that would provide parents with the ability to choose the type of care best for their children. For once, parents have real choice and government support for whatever option they choose. In last week’s Federal Budget, details of the program were formally announced.
Canada ’s Universal Child Care Plan is made up of two components. The first provides direct support for parents with a Universal Child Care Benefit of $100 per month for every child under age six. Once the budget is passed by Parliament, parents will begin receiving monthly Universal Child Care Benefit cheques in July. The cheques will be provided in addition to existing measures such as the Canada Child Tax Benefit, the National Child Benefit Supplement and the Child Care Expense Deduction.
This benefit provides choice in child care. Some parents might use the benefit to pay part of their child care fees. A parent who stays at home may want to use it on a preschool program or for occasional care by a friend, neighbor or relative. The benefit may also be used to purchase learning materials that parents might not otherwise be able to buy for their children. Parents may even wish to deposit all or part of the benefit in a Registered Education Savings Plan.
The second component is a commitment by the federal government to provide incentives to create 25,000 flexible child care spaces per year through the Child Care Spaces Initiative, beginning in 2007. The Child Care Spaces Initiative will help employers to create new child care spaces that meet the real needs of families across
The great thing about this plan is that every family in