Friday, May 4, 2007

Childcare Bill supported by GSS

The GSS Sent this letter in support of Bill C303, the Access to Childcare act.

April 30, 2007

Dear members of the House of Commons HUMA Standing Committee,

I am writing on behalf of the University of Victoria Graduate Students’ Society (GSS) to encourage you to support Bill C-303.

Access to affordable childcare has a major impact on the ability of many of our members to succeed in pursing post-graduate studies. In 2006, there were 2423 graduate students at UVic, and of these 1426 were women. The median age of full time graduate students is 30 yrs, but for part time students, who are often students juggling parenting, jobs and their studies, the median age is 37.

While UVic has excellent childcare facilities, the wait for childcare, both at UVic and at other childcare centres in Victoria, can be several years. There are simply not enough spaces available. Many students complete an entire degree without being able to access UVic childcare services. Even parents who can afford the most expensive facilities are sometimes unable to find care. Bill C303 addresses the need to create new childcare spaces.

Lack of spaces drives prices up and for families living on a low income this means it is even more difficult to find safe, quality childcare. According to Campaign 2000, BC holds the shameful distinction of having the highest rate of child poverty in Canada (23.5%). For parents who are raising children in poverty, post secondary education is one route to increasing family income. For many students, the cost of childcare is a major barrier to attending college or university. In 2005, the average monthly cost of childcare in BC ranged from $705 for infants to $419 for after school care, and according to Statistics Canada’s Consumer Price Index, childcare costs in BC rose 5.6% from 2005 to 2007. Bill C303 supports the creation of public, affordable childcare.

Finally, Bill C303 safeguards federal funding for childcare. This is especially important to citizens of BC, where shortly after a federal childcare funding announcement the provincial government cut funds for infrastructure and creating new childcare spaces in BC.

For these reasons, we encourage you to support Bill C-303.

Patrick Reed
University of Victoria Graduate Students’ Society

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