Friday, 4 March 2011

Women's Day Coming Up, Highlighting Need for Day Care Places, Better Parental Leave

Our sweetheart Jeanne has been on a list for day care since before she was born. She's a bit more than six months now, and Elin would prefer to wait a while longer before placing Jeanne in day care. Emmanuel has actually been able to take some parental leave too. But in order to have a place when they're already to go back to work, they had to start the day care process very early.

Quebec has a network of publicly funded day cares charging $7 a day, and there are tax credits for day care expenses if you must pay more in a private day care. Sounds good, but the waiting lists are horrific: Le Devoir reports this morning that each center has several hundreds kids waiting for a place. To be sure, some of that is duplication. I'm pretty sure that parents sign up at several places, in hopes that they'll come up lucky at one at least.

Elin was not quite three when the Garderie Querbes opened, one of the great wave of day care centres opened in the late 1970s to respond to the need for quality early childhood care. At the time women were increasingly choosing or were forced to go out to work when their children were small. Since then Quebec women have taken a larger and larger place in the workplace and society in general, to the benefit of us all.

Next Tuesday is International Women's Day, a good time to remember that we need the promote the energy and talents of women. Good child care and mechanisms to allow fathers to take part in the rearing of children like Canada's parental leave system, run through Employment Insurance, are essential to doing that.

BTW, next Tuesday is when Elin and friends are giving a concert of works created for them--three young women who are making careers of music in a world where the sky should the limit.

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