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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

NDP's Mulcair to announce child-care policy

In a bid to attract attention and get Canadians looking at policy more than a year before the next election, the Official Opposition will put forward its child-care plan at a non-profit daycare in Ottawa...

...Unveiling a key plank of his election platform will undoubtedly open Mulcair to criticism from his opponents, particularly because the cost of the overall program is expected to be high.
Part of that will likely be defended by Pierre Fortin, an economics professor at the University of Quebec in Montreal, who will be on hand to answer questions. Fortin has done extensive research on how Quebec's child-care program affects the work force.
In a study from 2012, Fortin and his colleagues concluded that after the low-cost daycare program was launched in 1997, originally at $5 a day, the rates of children in daycare exploded.
Between 1998 and 2008 the percentage of children in child care grew to 43 per cent from 16 per cent. There was an equally large increase in the number of Quebec women who entered the work force. Fortin suggests that increase in turn had a direct impact on gross domestic product, meaning the cost of the program can be offset by more money in government coffers through increased income taxes.
But for all the uptake in the Quebec program there are questions about sustainability. In fact, the Quebec Liberal government recently increased the daily rate slightly and hinted the province may move to a sliding scale.
A Liberal plan under then prime minister Paul Martin for a national child-care program was set to cost $5 billion over five years in 2006.

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