No lifeline for women and children in today's budget?

    TORONTO, Jan. 27 /CNW/ - Details about the federal budget that have been
leaked in the last few days have prompted increasing alarm among advocates for
women and children. "An economic stimulus budget without childcare will mean
that women and children are last in the lineup for the lifeboats", said Martha
Friendly, Executive Director of the Toronto-based Childcare Resource and
Research Unit today. "Without a government that is going to make sure that
they have a lifeline, women and children are going to carry a large part of
the burden of hard times from this recession".
    "Canada can't work without childcare", continued Ms. Friendly, "and
economists and social policy experts tell us that spending money on good
childcare is smart economics".  While women carry the brunt of working and
caring in hard times, there is no hint that the budget will contain measures
to help women and their families weather the recession.
    During the pre-budget consultations, the Childcare Resource and Research
Unit (CRRU) advanced the idea that a publicly funded childcare system can both
stimulate the economy and support women, children and families in hard
economic times. Good quality early childhood education and childcare is a
strong job creator, an excellent use of physical infrastructure funds, helps
keep people out of poverty, and educates Canada's future citizens.
    "But it's looking as though women will be on their own - will need to
work harder than ever both in the paid labour force and in the home to make
ends meet, training or returning to school, trying to balance work and family
demands and usually being the primary caregivers at the same time - all
without the support of the high quality, affordable childcare system that
Canada lacks. We need a plan - infrastructure, public funds to make programs
affordable and high quality, and good policy to make sure it all works and the
money is well spent".
    Canada has become internationally notorious for its deficient track
record on women's equality, social and family benefits and early childhood
education and childcare. CRRU's pre-budget brief pointed out that good
childcare contributes to timely, short-term economic stimulus and longer term
economic prosperity and competitiveness, to women's equality and children's

    The full text of the pre-budget brief is available online:

For further information:

For further information: Martha Friendly, Executive Director, Childcare
Resource and Research Unit, (416) 926-9264, (416) 562-7579 (mobile)

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