What $ 10 a day in child care costs could mean for parents if New Brunswick goes federally
An independent research institute analyzes the federal government’s plan to dramatically cut child care costs and what it would mean for parents in New Brunswick and across the country, if provincial governments embrace it.
In April, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced that the federal government will spend about $ 30 billion over five years to help offset child care costs.
The first objective, set for 2022, is to reduce costs by 50%. By 2026, child care costs nationwide are expected to have fallen to $ 10 per day per child.
The most ambitious child care plan since the 1980s
According to David Macdonald, senior economist at the Center for Policy Alternatives in Ottawa, this is the most ambitious child care program Canada has seen since the 1980s.
“For any parent, this will mean huge savings. Especially for parents with young children or infants if we take a look at major New Brunswick cities like Saint John, Moncton.
The 50% reduction in fees by 2022 would allow New Brunswick parents to have an infant of approximately $ 5,000 per year and preschool children of approximately $ 4,000 per year and per child, according to Macdonald.
If the fee fell to $ 10 per day, it would save New Brunswick parents about $ 7,500 per year per child.
Parents of preschool children, who now pay an average of $ 8,300 per child, would save about $ 5,700 per child by 2026 under the federal plan.
Over the past seven years, the Center for Policy Alternatives has conducted annual surveys of child care costs in each province.
The last one took place in the fall of 2020, before the 2021 budget was announced.
“I realized we could use the data we had from 2020 to calculate what lower fees would mean for parents,” Macdonald said.
Only 2 provinces registered
New Brunswick does not yet have an agreement with the federal government. In fact, Premier Blaine Higgs has said any decision will be postponed until the fall.
So far, only two provinces have registered: British Columbia and Nova Scotia.
The New Brunswick government has not asked anyone to be interviewed as to whether it wants to follow in Nova Scotia’s footsteps.
Instead, he released a statement saying the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has ongoing discussions with the federal government and summarizing things it has already announced or done in the interests of child care in the province.
Macdonald said federal-provincial relations are not known for their speed and that should not be a cause for concern yet.
“This program was only announced in the spring. It is impressive that they were able to find two agreements.”
“Dangerous times” for child care plans
As the fall elections approach, this ambitious plan may die out, just as others proposed near the election have also done.
“Most of the previous child care plans died because of the election,” Macdonald said.
But he said it might help that this plan already has signed agreements with the provinces.
“Although, I suspect that if another party came to power, since no money has been poured yet, it would not be so problematic to cancel the agreements with the provinces.”
Current government assistance
In New Brunswick and all other provinces except Quebec, which already has a daily cost of $ 8 for child care per child, grants are available for low-income families who need support. help to cover childcare costs.
How these provincial grant systems will fit into a $ 10 per day program is not yet clear, not even in provinces already registered, such as Nova Scotia.
With files from Information Morning Moncton