12 Flawed Child Care Statements by the Fraser Institute

12 Flawed Child Care Statements by the Fraser Institute:

Summary of Rebuttal from Quebec Economist Pierre Fortin 

Fortin examines the 12 statements made by the Fraser Institute (FI) in a recent assessment of Quebec’s child care program. Fortin finds their underlying arguments are so flawed that the publication is “an affront to the standards promised by the Fraser Institute’s website” and “a policy analysis disaster.”

Fortin’s critique of the FI report incorporates a broad range of up-to-date, peer-reviewed research and public reports that confirm the multiple benefits of Quebec’s child care system to date. He also identifies areas requiring ongoing policy attention. Specifically, the Quebec child care system:

  • … Had a large, significant and persistent impact on the labour supply of mothers comparable to ... similar comprehensive reforms in countries such as Norway, Spain and Germany.” These findings were confirmed by three teams of labour economists, who, working independently, produced peer-reviewed studies published in reputable scientific journals.  Also, there has been no meaningful reduction in fathers’ labour force participation.
  • Provides economic benefits that outweigh the system costs, when all relevant impacts are considered. The public costs are similar to the OECD average (0.6% of GDP), yet below the international recommendation of 1% of GDP.
  • Has achieved good quality programming in the early childhood centres (called CPE in French) which serve 1/3 of children. CPEs “deliver positive cognitive, health and behavioural results” and reduce “vulnerability of children of all income classes. These standards need to be extended to the rest of the system (licensed family-based caregivers and for-profit centres). Providing consistently high quality programs across the system would improve the outcomes for children in all types of care. It would also address the fact that while there is no wait time for a child care space in general, there are waiting lists for CPEs.
  • Could use its surplus funds (net economic benefits) to strengthen quality and reach even more low-income families. Including low-income families in child care programs is challenging as they are less likely to be in the workforce and, when they are working, to use child care programs. But trying to target only disadvantaged families would be less effective and more costly overall. A universal approach generates surplus funds that can be used to strengthen quality and reach disadvantaged families at no net public cost. 
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$10aDay Implementation Plan: 22,500 New Spaces, Affordable Child Care for 45,000 Families by 2020

Throughout 16 years in government, the BC Liberals could have chosen to make quality child care available and affordable across the province. Instead, they allowed the crisis to grow, particularly over the last four years. While parent fees skyrocketed, the BC Liberal Government consistently underspent their child care budget. They secured only 4,300 of the 13,000 new spaces promised by 2020, leaving 80% of BCs 570,000 children with no access to child care. Yet, the BC Liberals election platform currently suggests they’ll keep building another 8,000 (or 9,000) unaffordable spaces, which doesn’t even keep pace with population growth, in order to reach their old 2020 goal.

Standing in stark contrast, the $10aDay Child Care Plan’s proposed implementation schedule creates 22,500 new spaces by 2020, serving 30,000 more children and making child care affordable for 45,000 families.

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Top 10 things you can do to support the $10aDay Plan

We’re only weeks away from election day in BC, and thanks to supporters like you the $10aDay campaign has built an incredible amount of momentum. Now we need your help to get to the finish line and make sure that this election, we make access to affordable, quality child care a reality in BC.

We've had a lot of people ask us — "How can I get involved and support the $10aDay campaign?".

Here are the top 10 ways you can make a difference:

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Questions you can ask your local candidates

The Provincial Election is only weeks away.

With your help and hard work, we have achieved our first  election campaign goal. The $10aDay Child Care Plan is a top election issue.

But our work is far from done. Now, we have to make sure that the next government knows they must solve BC’s child care crisis.

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BC Liberal Government Under-Spending on Child Care

Despite Growing Child Care Crisis, BC Liberal Government Underspends Child Care Budget by $100 million

The BC government repeatedly responds to concerns about the growing child care crisis by claiming ‘we can’t afford to do more’. Yet, their own public reports show that they haven’t even spent the minimal funds they committed to child care over the last four years. Child care underspending totals almost $100 million, with $48 million underspent last year alone.

“This is shocking” states Sharon Gregson, spokesperson for the $10aDay Child Care Plan. “BC’s child care budget is already far below international standards. It’s outrageous to know that our government didn’t make sure that every dollar promised to child care was spent. $100 million could have made a real difference for BC families.” 

The analysis of BC’s public reporting was carried out by Lynell Anderson, CPA, CGA. “Underspending of the child care budget has grown each year since 2013” explains Anderson. “Despite inflation, the growing child population, and an increase in the budget allocation for child care, the BC government reports that actual spending was the same in 2016 as in 2013.”

With an average of $25 million underspent annually, the BC Liberals Budget 2017 announcement of a $20 million increase for child care in 2017/18 lacks credibility. And, they propose to create 8,000 new spaces over the next three years, yet the population is projected to increase by 18,000 children. 

Clearly, the child care crisis will continue to grow under the plan put forward by the BC Liberals in their 2017 Budget. Their approach stands in stark contrast to the child care election platforms put forward by the BC NDP, who've committed to the popular $10aDay Plan, and the BC Green Party, both of whom have made substantive commitments to solving the child care crisis in BC.

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Time for show and tell?

You know what the latest provincial budget did for my family? For all intents and purposes: nothing. It makes me feel this government is out of touch with the realities and struggles families are facing.

You see, my husband and I are a fairly new parents – our little guy just started into child care last March. So when our care provider handed us our 2016 tax receipt, it was a shock.

tax-receipt.png

 

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IWD = Child Care Challenge to all BC Political Parties

For Immediate Release

March 8th, IWD, is the final day of a Week of Action for $10aDay Child Care. Thousands of women and families across BC have added to the unstoppable momentum for the $10aDay Child Care Plan by signing petitions, writing letters, attending rallies, organizing stroller brigades, participating in seminars and tweeting, posting and instagramming their support.

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10 Reasons Why BC Can Afford $10aDay Child Care

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BC Budget 2017 does nothing to solve the chaos that BC families face every day as they try to find and afford child care. There is a concrete solution – the $10aDay Child Care Plan – which is supported by communities, school boards, businesses and individuals across the province.

The cost of the $10aDay Plan will be phased-in over time, only reaching the total additional cost of $1.5 billion a year when it is fully implemented in 7 to 10 years. BC Budget 2017 makes it clear there are various options for funding the up-front costs required to kick-start the Plan –including projected surpluses.

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Missing in Action on Quality, Affordable Child Care

There is a massive affordability crisis for BC families that need child care. Fees can run upwards of $10,000 per year—higher than university tuition—and regulated spaces are available for only 27 per cent of BC children under age five. There’s no question that the status quo—a fragmented patchwork of child care programs with exorbitant prices, inadequate spaces and inconsistent quality—fails to meet the needs of BC families.

Unfortunately, the BC Budget has little to offer parents of young children. The Budget provides additional funding to fund another 2,000 child care spaces on top of the 13,000 spaces over 6 years announced in 2013 with the Early Years Strategy. While any increase is an improvement, 2,000 additional new spaces will not come close to meeting the needs of BC families.

Even if all new spaces opened are for children newborn to age five, the 2,000 new spaces would accommodate less than half a per cent of the children in that age group (fewer, if the number of children in BC grows). Under the government’s current Early Years Strategy, with today’s small improvement, BC would have regulated spaces for fewer than one-third of all children younger than five, far short of where Quebec is now, and there are no plans to make these spaces affordable.

The maximum subsidy for children from newborn to five years has been frozen since 2005. Income thresholds below which parents qualify for subsidies have not increased since 2005 either. Yet child care fees have increased two to three times faster than general inflation for the past decade. Families are left with thousands of dollars of out-of-pocket costs even if they receive the maximum subsidy.

It is disappointing to see the BC government continues to ignore the large body of international and Canadian evidence demonstrates that affordable, high-quality child care and early education programs yield large social and economic benefits. We remain laggards by international standards, investing far less than what is required to ensure that all children can thrive. Small enhancements to the status quo like the 2,000 spaces announced today are not cutting it. We need a shift in priorities.

BC Budget 2017 was the perfect opportunity to provide the investment needed to establish the widely endorsed $10-a-Day Child Care Plan.  Such investment would have had ripple effects across the provincial economy: taking some pressure off young working families, freeing resources to pay off their student and mortgage debt; providing a good start for all BC children; allowing more mothers to participate in the workforce, increasing tax revenues almost immediately; and creating new jobs. What a wasted opportunity.

- See more at: http://www.policynote.ca/bcbudget2017/#sthash.JEHXIhqx.dpuf

More from Iglika Ivanova and Alex Hemingway at http://www.policynote.ca/bcbudget2017/
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Lily's Story

I started thinking about child care, on a personal level, when I was pregnant. My son is now 6. I thought that the daycare system was difficult when he was younger, but after school care is really a whole other thing.

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