DATE:                                                November 17, 2021

ITEM:                                                 Affordable Childcare for Halton Families


TO BE CONSIDERED:                   Council Meeting – November 17, 2021 ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY

MOVED BY:                                      Mayor Rob Burton

SECONDED BY:                              Councillor Sean O’Meara

WHEREAS childcare spaces in Halton and across Ontario have decreased as a result of the pandemic, and the lack of childcare spaces is a barrier to our economic recovery, and an Ontario Chamber of Commerce report, “The She-Covery Project: Confronting the Gendered Economic Impacts of COVID-19 in Ontario”, confirmed that child care is simply unaffordable and/or inaccessible for too many working families in Ontario;

WHEREAS Tina Agrell from Advancement of Women Halton, wrote in the Oakville Beaver: “As Ontario lays the groundwork for recovery, the development of a quality, inclusive, and publicly funded childcare system is crucial. Why? To invest in the development of Ontario’s children; to support economic development to end the ‘she- cession’ and support the return of women to the labour force. It pays for itself through employment and income taxes; and it eliminates parent’s financial barriers to a quality and inclusive childcare system”;

WHEREAS the Federal government introduced its plan for early learning and child care in April 2021, made agreements with eight provinces and one territory and recently campaigned on delivering $10 a day care in five years or less;

WHEREAS Ontario’s Minister of Education stated in August 2021 “We’re very committed to a good deal for Ontario, but it must respond to the unique advantages of this province”;

WHEREAS the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives reported that in 2020, the median cost for an infant in full-day child care in the GTA suburbs was between $17,400 and $19,300, and under the new national child care plan, parents in Halton would save $14,843 a year for an infant in 2026; NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:

THAT Halton Region supports the creation of accessible and affordable child care spaces for Halton families;

THAT Halton Region encourages the Federal government and the Ontario government to reach an equitable childcare agreement that acknowledges the provincial investment in full-day kindergarten and delivers affordable and accessible child care spaces for Ontario families;

AND THAT a copy of this resolution be sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Premier Doug Ford, the Minister of Education for Ontario, local Members of Provincial Parliament, local Members of Parliament, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, Ontario’s Big City Mayors, the Big City Mayors Caucus (Canada), the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care and the Advancement of Women Halton.

Long-Term Care Walk

AWH and CFUW joined the Ontario Health Coalition’s Walk concerning long-term care . About 60 people came out on a rainy day in Oakville to let the current government of Ontario know that we care about LTC. We care about 4-hours of care per resident per day, enforcement of standards, accountability, better working conditions and liveable wages for the care workers in the sector.

We #RejectNeglect and want #CareOverProfit.  

Backgrounder on Income Security, Jan.2021

Advancement of Women Halton (AWH) is a non-partisan coalition of community groups located in the Region of Halton, which seeks to promote the advancement of women by developing and supporting social, political, cultural and economic strategies to achieve gender equality municipally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

These turbulent times have given AWH an opportunity to reflect and one thing is certain; we do not want to go back to the old normal. Now is the time to reimagine the social, economic, and ecological environment in which we want to live.  Now is the time for a new social contract in Canada.

A new social contract is a universal system of social protection that would include those social, educational, housing, income security, and health policies and programs that allow all Canadians to live with dignity, to participate in community, to educate their children and to care for their families. 

Prior to the pandemic Canada’s government had disinvested in social protection, gradually shrinking its responsibilities for our collective well-being.

In the design of a new social contract, AWH entreats the Government of Canada to respect its obligations to Canadians, articulated in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which Canada signed in support of the idea of a guaranteed liveable income, through Article 25 which states:

        “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.” 

This clearly is a call for a new social contract with a set of programs and services, accessible to all, that would also be inclusive of income security afforded by a universal guaranteed liveable income.

 There are many models for income security under discussion, however, it is the set of principles which underlie such a program that is vital.  These principles will determine the program’s capacity to support Canadians at different points in their journey through life, whether it be in raising children, to make transitions in the labour force, to cope with unemployment, to create a passage out of poverty, to attain greater education and training, to contribute to our nation’s soul through the arts, or to enable full participation in civic democracy.  

These principles include: 

  • A guaranteed liveable income (GLI) will provide sufficient income for individual Canadians to meet the basic necessities of life and to live in health and dignity in the community.  
  • The GLI will be set at a level that brings an individual above the poverty line as defined by the Low-Income Measure After Tax (LIM-AT).  It will assure a floor below which no-one falls.  It will be income tested.
  • The GLI would be administered through the tax system, where efficiency and capacity has been successfully demonstrated by the CERB during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Income supports related to other circumstances will continue to be funded as separate programs, (OAS, GIS, Canada Child benefit, Employment Insurance).
  • GLI will be non-conditional.  It will be provided to individuals living below a defined income floor without other, often degrading, eligibility requirements or conditions.
  • It will not replace, disrupt, or limit access to other essential health and social service programs.
  • It will augment education and employment supports, such as training and further education. 
  • It will complement, not supplant, a public policy commitment to the creation of good jobs for all, including opportunities for decent work in the community and civic sector.
  • It will have no bearing on the need for an adequate, legislated minimum wage that ensures an individual working full-year, full-time escapes poverty, nor should it discourage all employers from paying a living wage to their workers based on the cost of living in their area of the country so that individuals and families can sustain themselves and fully participate in community life. 
  • It will not indirectly result in compelling women to assume the full burden of caregiving roles for children, elderly or other family members.
  • There will be ongoing research on the impact of such a guaranteed liveable income. 

Income support is a social protection that lies firmly in the domain of our federal government. 

We believe that Canada as a country can afford to invest in the future by providing this support.

Income security is but part of the intricately interwoven suite of programs of a new social contract.  AWH has great expectations that 2021 will see a strong movement to a more equitable, just, and inclusive society. 

Sources: These principles are built on: reflections and study by Advancement Women Halton; on notes from a November 2016 workshop of the Social Planning Network of Ontario; A Working Monograph from the Marvyn Novick Legacy Group. Re-Awakening Our Social Commons. June 2020; Basic Income Canada Network, Basic Income: Some Policy Options for Canada. 2019;  Guy Standing, Basic Income: And How We Can Make It Happen. 2017; Office of Kim Pate, Independent Senator, Why a Guaranteed Livable Income? The VB604 Perspective. June 2020.

Roundtable with Justice Minister Lamatti

On Friday October 16, MP Pam Damoff hosted a Zoom round table discussion on justice issues with Minister of Justice David Lametti and his assistant Morgan McDougall.  Her guests were MP Hon. Anita Anand, Alma Arguello of SAVIS, Andrew Tyrell of the Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton (CCAH) and three members of the Advancement of Women Halton (AWH), Bonnie Brown, Daniela Jansson and Tina Agrell.

Bonnie introduced AWH.  Daniela spoke with passion about the over representation of black and indigenous people in Canada’s jails and urged Minister Lametti to implement the recommendations of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women. Tina asked that the Mandatory Minimum Sentences, which have been a costly failure, be completely eliminated.

Andrew Tyrrell, CCAH president, discussed the overrepresentation of Blacks in the criminal justice system.

Other discussions included human trafficking and inappropriate sentencing of the Indigenous community within the criminal justice system.