If it seems like families are having a harder time nowadays making ends meet, it’s because they are.
Or at least that’s what Dr. Paul Kershaw, UBC professor and one of Canada’s leading thinkers on family policy, is saying.
Joanne McCullough, executive director of the Early Childhood Development Coalition, has organized an event to bring Kershaw to Golden to open up the discussion on family policy.
“I think that there’s a problematic feeling that families in Canada are doing just fine. Also, if you decide to have kids, then that’s your problem. That isn’t the way it is in other countries,” said McCullough. “He (Kershaw) is trying to entice people to get engaged around this issue.”
Kershaw has been travelling around the province, trying to make people understand that this is a problem, and we do have the power to change it.
“There’s something in our Canadian make-up that makes us not want to help families because we have this feeling that it’s their own problem. And parents feel the same way,” said McCullough.
Her hope is that Kershaw will help people realize that building strong families, and giving children a better start at life, will benefit the entire community.
“Families and kids are the backbone of our future,” she said.
Kershaw is advocating for three main things. First, he believes that parental leave is not long enough. Right now it is one year, but a mother often has to leave work before her child is born, which means that she has to go back to work before the child turns one.
“Daycare is extremely difficult to find for children under one,” said McCullough. If parental leave was 18 months, then daycare would be easier to find when parents go back to work.
Second, Kershaw wants the government to offer incentives to businesses who offer more part time options, allowing parents to spend more time at home, while still working.
And finally he wants to look at universal child care.
“That’s something that we’re already seeing happen in Quebec,” said McCullough. Right now the average cost of daycare in Golden is $40 per day, per child. That is out of reach for some families, especially ones with multiple children.
The WTF? Party (where’s the family?), will be at the Taps Pub on Friday Oct. 5, free of charge. Cocktails are at 5:30 p.m., and the discussion kicks off at 6. Dancing with DJ Mihajic touch will follow at 7 p.m.