the Harper government is promising to pay parents $1,200 a year fore very child under six. The parents could spend the money as they wish, but the government describes it as a plan for child care.
One of the problems with $1,200 a year is it does not even come closet o covering the cost of private or public care. You might just as well, as a Liberal spokesman said, spend it on beer and popcorn.
More importantly, $1,200 is not really $1,200 because the money is taxable. Thus income-tested benefits would decrease and taxes would increase. The only families to get the full $1,200 would be the very poorest, with little or no income.
The Child Care Advocacy Association calculates that when decreased benefits and increased taxes are calculated, a two-earner family with two children, with a family income of $30,000, would get just $460 perchild of that $1,200; a family with an income of $40,000 would get $671 per child, and one with $50,000 would get $827 per child.
The Caledon Institute of Social Policy says the Harper plan is unfair because it pays less to poor and modest income families and more to middle- and upper-income families. And the plan would do “little if anything to increase the supply of affordable, quality child care,” the institute says.
And other provincial governments have already started squawking at the thought of a special deal for Quebec on child care. The premiers have already held a conference call to discuss a united front against Harper, to address the threat of cuts in child-care funding.