BC Green Party pledges $500/month for families with stay at-home parent, children under 3

Oct 6 2020, 1:59 pm

The BC Green Party will provide families with a stay-at-home parent and children under 3 with up to $500 a month if elected, party leader Sonia Furstenau announced Tuesday.

The announcement was part of the party’s unveiling of its plan to support young families in the province, which Furstenau said also includes universal early childhood education, and policies to support flexible work arrangements.

“BC should be the best place in the world to raise a family, but parents with young children are facing tremendous pressure,” said Furstenau. “The generation raising young children today juggles long working hours and multiple demands on their time, as their household incomes stagnate and housing costs skyrocket.”

Furstenau said the economy “has been structured to encourage more work, more spending, and more economic growth — but the benefits of economic growth haven’t been shared by most.”

Instead, she continued, “the wealth has been concentrated at the top, while more people feel like they’re working harder and harder but still falling behind.”

As such, “our plan to support families is about giving people real options.”

Overall, the plan includes the following:

  • Support for stay-at-home parents

    • Up to $500 per month for families with children under 3 and a stay-at-home parent

  • Early childhood education and care

    Create a comprehensive program for early childhood education and care. The party would increase funding for child care programs from $674 million in 2020/21 to $897 million in 2024/25. Funding would cover the phase-in of the various elements of this plan for a comprehensive program that would include the following:

    • Professional development opportunities to increase qualifications of existing child care workers, and the training of more early childhood educators in certified programs

    • The expansion of available physical spaces, prioritizing partnerships with public schools, community non-profits, and First Nations

    • Establish professional wages for early childhood educators

    • Free childcare for working parents with children under 3

    • Maintaining child care subsidies and and supports as needed to ensure adequate financial support for all families

    • Moving the Ministry of State for Childcare into the Ministry of Education

Supporting flexible work arrangements

In consultation with business, labour and other stakeholders, explore options for reduced work weeks and or flexible work hours. For example, encouraging employers to adopt a four-day work week, or reduced hours for a standard work week while maintaining full-time status to maintain benefits, or modified work week arrangements.

Supporting telecommuting to save commuting time

  • Helping employers to continue to support telecommuting where feasible.

  • Enhancing investments to deliver high-speed internet access across BC.

BC voters head to the polls on October 24.

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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