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N.L. child-care subsidies don’t help middle income families: NDP

Lorraine Michael
Lorraine Michael

Increases to the child-care subsidy announced last week by the provincial government won't help most working families in the province, says NDP Education and Early Childhood Development critic Lorraine Michael.

“The income threshold for the maximum subsidy is now $32,000, which the news release describes as ‘families with low to middle incomes,’” Michael said in a news release.

“In fact, this new threshold just barely reaches low-income levels. There’s nothing here for middle-income families.”

The most recent (2014) low-income cutoff for a couple with two children in St. John’s is $32,236, the NDP notes.

 “And with government’s graduated scale, low-income families with incomes only slightly above the $32,000 threshold will have even less of their fees paid under the subsidy program,” Michael said.

A family using a centre that charges more than the government’s fee scale pays even more, Michael pointed out.

Government pays $600 -$660 monthly for children aged 2 to 4, but a day care centre costs on average $800 per month in St. John’s, she said.

 Michael said the increase is long-overdue, but government hasn't done much to remove the roadblock that keeps many people, mostly women, out of the workforce.

 “We need universal, affordable child care. It would boost the economy, increase tax revenue, help families with the rising cost of daycare, raise program quality, and improve early childhood educators’ working conditions,” Michael said.

 “It doesn’t have to happen overnight, but we have to put a solid workable plan in place to start the process now. This announcement is almost meaningless to the thousands of working families struggling to find affordable child care.”



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