1. Before and after school care are not addressed within New Brunswick’s childcare policy changes. Current policy changes that provide free childcare to those with an annual income under $37,500 only applies to children from ages zero to five even though school aged children must continue to be supervised before and after school, in the summers and during school breaks. Our research indicates that before and after school care continues to place a huge financial strain on low income families. We know that paying this childcare bill takes away from other areas of basic needs such as utility bills and grocery bills therefore forcing families to make tough decisions around work and family life and compounding the challenges of moving towards security.
2. Currently, policy does not allow social assistance to provide a babysitting rate for grandparents or anyone outside the family that is living in the same home as the children. Canadian women living with low incomes are more likely to remain attached to the labour force if they have family that can meet emergency childcare needs. Assistance from family is a viable way to support women into inclusion. To move towards gender equality, we must recognize the imbalances that women face when trying to obtain work. Women who live in poverty are more likely to work in gendered care or service positions that offer low wages, odd hours, and little job security. The ability to pay a grandparent or a household member a babysitting fee can cushion women from some of the inequalities they face and can be a viable way to create better job security for women (e.g. having a grandparent pick a child up from daycare and care for them for the evening while a woman works past traditional childcare hours). This policy does not consider the financial strain that is placed on families when government expects unpaid care by grandparents and household members. Transporting grand-children, denying work opportunities to stay home and care for a grandchild, feeding grand-children etc. can all work as barriers in the ability to cushion women from the inequalities they already face in the workforce.
3. The lack of inclusive policies in childcare facilities and the discontinuity of financial services create a large barrier for women who have children requiring specialized care. As a part of the new childcare policies that were announced through the New Brunswick Government, inclusion policies in early learning centers will be a mandatory component of designation. We recognize that women who have children with disabilities are more likely to experience challenges in finding appropriate childcare for their children that precludes them from work and will be following policy development closely.
You can also affect change! There is a provincial election in September 2018, make sure your voice is heard!
See here where each candidate stands on childcare.