With the federal NDP promising $15 a day child care in its campaign, affordable daycare has become an election issue.
It is something that will benefit Nanaimo residents, says Kara Rafuse, an early childhood educator assistant at North Nanaimo Early Learning Centre.
“It’d be a really good benefit because there’s always going to be parents that need it, especially for a lot of the times families have both parents working … it’s always a benefit if they get help – daycare’s expensive,” said Rafuse.
Sheila Malcolmson, Nanaimo-Ladysmith NDP candidate, said a similar plan in Quebec led to 70,000 women entering the workforce.
“Those new 70,000 people in the workplace, they then spent their income in the local economy, they got taxed by the federal and provincial government, so in the end, a $1 investment ended up creating between $2 and $2.45 economic benefit regionally,” said Malcolmson.
Mark MacDonald, Conservative candidate, said the Harper government also is dealing with the issue in its platform.
“The general line is that they’re trying to put more money into parents’ pockets through the universal child care benefit, so that parents can make their own decisions about child care instead of state-run institutionalized daycare,” said MacDonald.
Tim Tessier, Liberal candidate, said the NDP plan will be rolled out in 2019 and most parents that need daycare today won’t see benefit. He said his party will provide a better child benefit, which equals $533 per child per month, tax free. It will allow parents to decide where the money goes.
“Further to that, in our infrastructure investment, we are going to be putting funds and innovation to create more child care spaces and child care workers, that’s what we need,” said Tessier.
Paul Manly, Green Party candidate, said his party has a more “robust” model.
“It tries to do a bunch of different things … you have at-work child care, so we have a program that would include that,” said Manly. “We have child care that would be tied to public school system, then we have a system that would be like home schooling as well.”
Manly said not everyone wants their children in public school. Some want home school and home child care and the Greens want to ensure a fair way for people to have different access.