Mike Bossio is the Liberal candidate for the Federal electoral riding of Hastings-Lennox & Addington. I am part of his Communications team. As a long-time activist for universal childcare, I am happy to add this post to the communications material.
A national Early Learning and Childcare plan has been promised many times before but I am optimistic that it will actually happen over the next few years. Why the optimism? Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, who as a mother, recognizes the need for these programs, is spearheading the multi-year, multi-million-dollar plan announced in her Fall Economic Statement. Full details are expected to be released in the Spring Budget due next month. She knows it’s time to get moving on this and she understands that Early Learning and Childcare is no longer a women’s issue. It’s an economic issue.
Here’s a link to her discussing the necessity for a national plan on CTV’s The Social
Mike Bossio understands the importance of this issue and he fully supports universally accessible Early Learning and Childcare. He has heard from young families in Hastings-Lennox & Addington (HLA) that the lack of these programs has had a big impact on their ability to fully take advantage of [employment] opportunities. Some families choose to have one parent stay home with the children, as mine did, and Mike’s did. That is a significant financial burden. There are some programs to support stay-at-home parents but more are needed.
Mike believes there are a number of different avenues that can be taken to provide more spaces for programs including using schools or other public buildings that have extra space or have been closed. The not-for-profit sector has a role to play too.
Providing resources and other incentives to those who want to provide Early Learning and Childcare in their homes is one of many options Mike wants to explore. A network of community leaders, parents and early childhood educators working together is absolutely critical in rural areas where the hours of care provided need to be more flexible than in urban areas. Mike understands the importance of seeing this, and other issues, through a rural lens. He wants to make sure we have the best programs for families in this riding.
If we are to survive the “she-cession” that has occurred due to so many women having to leave the paid work force due to a lack of Early Learning and Childcare, and to help home-school their children, then we have to understand that many of those women will not be able to return to their jobs unless Early Learning and Childcare is part of the “she-covery.”
As more families are moving to rural areas from bigger cities, they are going to expect the same level of services, which includes having access to quality Early Learning and Childcare. A major investment by the federal government will be needed and there has to be co-operation from the other level of governments as Early Learning and Child Care funding is a provincial responsibility with programs run by municipal governments and community agencies.
Mike Bossio knows how to work with representatives from all levels of government and a wide variety of community organizations. He had a good working relationship with Chrystia Freeland and other cabinet ministers when he was the MP for HLA and he looks forward to working with them again.
We cannot #BuildBackBetter without a federal Early Learning and Childcare plan and we won’t have a better advocate for HLA until we #BringBackBossio.