At our recent Stroller Brigade in South Vancouver, Sara Langlois spoke out about the need for the $10aDay Plan. Here's what she had to say:
"My name is Sara Langlois, and I’m here today with my family, to talk about 10 a day and how adopting this policy is what we need to do to keep the BC economy strong.
We know that it may not have always been the case, but in our modern society, most families need two incomes to make ends meet. This is not likely to change any time soon, like it or not. In this context, a safe, high quality and accessible daycare system is not a luxury, it’s a pragmatic necessity.
In 2017, I truly believe it is the most effective way to grow our economy and the most pragmatic way to address complex problems such as child poverty, gender equality, as well as the very unhealthy demographic problems cities like Vancouver are currently experiencing, where the younger generation of key workers are being pushed out.
"10 a day is a non-partisan issue that should appeal to any family, any employer and any politician that is willing to be pragmatic and realistic about the future of this province."
10 a day is a non-partisan issue that should appeal to any family, any employer and any politician that is willing to be pragmatic and realistic about the future of this province.
BC has been my home for the past 6 years, it is where I met my partner and where my daughter was born. My partner and I are both contributing positively to this economy, working full time and paying our taxes, but like every family living here on an ‘’average white-collar’’ salary, we are in a vulnerable situation.
Our positive contribution depends on 3 pillars – one is our job, two is our home, three is our daycare. Without one of these 3 things, our family quickly becomes at risk and can no longer afford to live here, in beautiful BC.
It seems to me that our current politicians have been very keen on making job creation their priority. But the reality is that only pushing for job creation is not enough. In fact, key employers like Microsoft and the tech sector, school boards, hospitals are all having serious difficulty recruiting and retaining skilled workers like me and my partner in BC. That is because the effort from our government to support the two other vital pillars I mentioned earlier : access to housing and access to daycare, are almost non existent. Result : we keep being invited to all these good bye parties – too many of the young families we know have already left or are planning to leave Vancouver and BC altogether.
At this point, the only reasonable way for our government to attract and retain talent and grow our economy is to be a lot more proactive about pillar number 2( housing ) and 3 ( daycare ). Only then will we believe you, BC liberals, when you say your # 1 priority is to keep BC economy strong.
Presently, my family is paying more in daycare than in rent every month. Should I have a second child in daycare or become a single parent, I would pay more in daycare fees than my salary. It would not be financially viable anymore for me to participate in the workforce at all.
What I’m trying to say here is that the lack of affordable and safe daycare is systematically keeping families in vulnerable situations. When the working middle class cannot afford to participate in the economy to their full capacity and raise a family, we have a problem!
That we can all agree on.
Now my question is : can we agree on a solution?
A solution where public dollars can be used wisely, providing us with the infrastructure we desperately need to open more quality day care. A solution where public dollars can be used to pay licensed daycare workers a fair wage for their hard work. A solution that will help reduce the fees for parents, so the incentive to stay in the workforce and participate in the economy for all families remains.
BC is not the only place in the world where parents need reliable and safe daycares. Many countries have come up with a practical solution that has been proven to work. They have implemented systems similar to what the 10 a day movement is trying to achieve. Places like Denmark and France but also Quebec, closer to us. I really want to stress that what 10 a day is proposing here is not a MYTH. It exists. It works. The data is there to show you the cost (we don’t deny that there is a cost ), but also to show you the return. That’s right, there is a positive return - a fact some politicians seem to have a very difficult time in recognizing, but it remains a fact . The figures are there for you to consult. Everywhere in developed countries, the public dollar invested in early education has offered a positive return, roughly doubling the initial investment.
This is because down the road, a subsidized daycare system similar to the 10 a day model allows every type of family to fully participate in the economy, to work and pay their taxes. It allows employers to keep their employees. It allows stability and safety for our economy.
BC liberals have a duty to consider this sustainable and viable project, especially now that new federal funding is on the table for early childhood learning. These federal public dollars must be spent wisely, creating infrastructures for high quality and affordable childcare centers that will be used for generations to come. It is simply a modern day necessity and it is the right thing to do.