A Jean Charest government would keep in place the childcare deals the Liberal government signed with the provinces, and “go further” in many ways.
“This is a significant support that will help many families and give women, in particular, more choices about their working life,” the Conservative leadership candidate said in a statement of the Liberals’ childcare plan.
The federal government will be spending $30 billion over five years to lower child care costs to $10 a day, while also increasing the number of affordable spaces. During the last election,
with a refundable tax credit of between $4,500 and $6,000 per child, which would cover up to 75% of the cost of child care for low-income families.
Charest said the previous two years had been tough on families, with schools and daycares closed, sports cancelled, and children forced into social isolation.
“Parents know how best to raise and support their families. It’s time to give the choice back to parents,” said the former Liberal premier of Quebec.
Charest said that in addition to keeping the plan, his government would “go further” by introducing a ‘Choice in Childcare tax credit’, which would rebate up to 75% of childcare expenses for lower-income families.
According to Charest, this would eliminate the existing “two-thirds limit” that caps credit amounts to two-thirds of the lower-income parent, “disproportionately taking funding away from lower-income families who need it the most.”
Charest would also make improvements to parental leave by extending the eligibility period for extended parental leave benefits for up to two years, introducing a tax credit on the federal portion of EI benefits during parental leave, and making a child tax credit available for women at the third month of their pregnancy.
Charest took the opportunity to take another shot at Conservative leadership candidate and Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre, who has previously accused the Liberal government of making child care “more expensive than ever.”
“Canadian parents are clear: they know how best to raise their kids. Pierre Poilievre doesn’t agree. He’ll repeal childcare and leave families to fend for themselves,” Charest said on Twitter.
Matthew Horwood is the Parliamentary Bureau Chief of the Western Standard
Matthew Horwood is the Parliamentary Bureau Chief of the Western Standard based in the Parliamentary Bureau. He has a degree in journalism from Carleton University and has been a reporter for the Hill Times and the Ottawa Business Journal.
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