Decades-old Liberal promise of national childcare not likely in upcoming budget

According to sources, the Liberals plan to spend enough money on childcare in their upcoming budget to prove their political seriousness on the issue, but their 1993 promise for a national child care system will remain unfulfilled. 

The Canadian Press with CNC files

OTTAWA — For many elections, federal Liberals have promised a national universal childcare system, similar to what exists in Quebec. But it appears that promise, which stretches back as far as 1993, won't be fulfilled in the upcoming budget, to be tabled Monday April 19.

Sources with knowledge of the government's plans say the Liberals are set to increase child care funding in next week's budget, with stakeholders being told to expect strings attached to federal cash for provinces who want the money.

Liberals want to spend enough to prove their political seriousness on child care, and try to persuade provinces to take up the money.

The sources, who spoke to The Canadian Press on the condition of anonymity because the budget is not yet public, say the Liberals are expected to tie the funding to specific outcomes, such as reducing fees and expanding the number of spaces.

Still, they say they expect the government to provide some flexibility to provinces in how they deliver programs to meet their unique needs.

Childcare costs have increased to almost $2,000 each month per child in many Canadian cities with fees increasing faster than inflation every year, according to research from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

In Montreal, under Quebec's public plan, the average monthly cost of childcare is $175.

Multiple economic analyses have shown that by allowing more parents -- mostly moms -- to work, the tax revenue generated by Quebec's childcare system is more than the amount spent on it.




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