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Results: 1 - 15 of 58
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased today to be speaking on Bill C-35, an act respecting early learning and child care in Canada.
This bill is one of the most significant pieces of legislation before this Parliament. It is something that I have been working on since I was first elected. It is one of the key issues that I have heard from my constituents.
I have spoken with mothers who wanted to return to work after their 12-month parental leave, but they could not because they could not find affordable child care, so they stayed out of the workforce longer than they intended to.
I also know of families where the mother, who made less money than the father, realized that almost all of her income from working would go to child care. She ended up making the choice to stay out of the workforce, even though that was not what she would have preferred.
This legislation is giving families, and particularly women, their choices back to be able to decide when and how they want to re-enter the workforce and to have their families. We all know that in these kinds of cases, even today, this definitely impacts women more than it impacts men.
Bill C-35 is absolutely vital to gender equality. When I chaired the Special Committee on Pay Equity during the 42nd Parliament, we heard over and over again that women earn, over the course of their lifetime in Canada, about 74¢ for every dollar that men earn over their lifetime.
This is not just because women are paid less. It is also because women are more likely to interrupt their careers for caregiving responsibilities. That results in lower incomes throughout women's lifetimes. When women retire, they end up having smaller pensions because they are based on fewer years worked and lower salary.
We have heard in this House today that one of the key recommendations for the last 50-plus years has been that in order to reduce the wage gap between women and men, we need to provide affordable child care, so that women and men can make the choice to stay in the workforce if that is what they want.
Bill C‑35 will enshrine the principles of a Canada-wide early learning and child care system into federal law. These principles are access, affordability, inclusiveness and high quality. Because these principles will be enshrined in law, it will be much more difficult for any future government to reverse them.
Canadians have already started feeling the impact of the $30-billion, federal-provincial-territorial, multilateral early learning and child care framework.
In Ontario, in my riding of Ottawa West—Nepean, child care spaces have seen a fee reduction of 50% at the end of December. This saves families in Ontario, on average, about $6,000 a year. By March 2026, we will reduce fees to $10 a day. In addition to this, we are creating 250,000 new, affordable child care spaces, including 86,000 in Ontario.
In the past, what we have seen is federal-provincial agreements simply being cancelled after a change of government. What this legislation does is enshrine in law accountability, transparency and reporting, long-term funding and a national advisory council on early learning and child care.
This will allow families in Canada, and those who are considering starting a family in the future, the assurance that affordable child care will be available to them in the long term. It also provides predictability and planning to the provinces and territories that know they can rely on sustained federal funding, while fully respecting the constitutional jurisdiction of the provinces.
I have been talking about the importance of child care to equality and values. What is often overlooked is that it is also a vital economic strategy. During the pandemic, 1.5 million women either lost their jobs or left work to take care of school-aged children who were home because of the pandemic. Many of them are still struggling to return to the workforce.
At the same time, our economy is now facing a labour shortage. Ensuring that we reduce the barriers to full labour force participation of women, the main barrier of which is lack of affordable child care, is key in overcoming our labour shortage and allowing businesses to find the skilled workers that they need in order to grow and thrive. Countries with high labour force participation of women have higher GDP growth and, therefore, access to early learning and child care is one of the key drivers of economic growth in Canada.
Studies have shown that investing in child care has one of the greatest returns on investment. For every dollar invested in early childhood education, there is a return to our economy of $1.50 to $2.80. We cannot afford not to do this.
At a time when the cost of living is rising due to global inflation and supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic and the illegal invasion of Ukraine by Putin, it is even more important to provide assistance to Canadians.
Reducing the cost of day care by thousands of dollars a year will also considerably help families with children who are struggling to make ends meet. That is only one of our affordability policies, and it is a very important one for families with young children.
I would like to talk a bit also about the principle that is in this law about inclusivity. We want families to have access to early learning and child care no matter where they live. Bill C-35 would build on the work done with indigenous peoples who have co-developed the indigenous early learning and child care framework, which is culturally appropriate and led by indigenous peoples.
I also know that women with intersecting identities, racialized and newcomer women, those living with disabilities, single parents and families in lower socio-economic conditions, face even greater challenges in finding good quality, affordable and reliable child care. This legislation would enshrine the principle of inclusivity into law. I hope that in the future we will elaborate this so that we can provide more supports to parents of children with special needs, to those working shift work or in precarious employment and to others who face additional barriers.
I would also point out that many child care workers themselves are women. This legislation would have the additional benefit of providing long-term funding and increasing the number of regulated child care spaces, creating more secure and higher-paid employment for those in this industry.
I am also very proud to say that my mom was a kindergarten teacher. I grew up in a house where I was given all the benefits of creativity, stimulation and learning from the very earliest age, but not all children are lucky enough to have a mother who is a Montessori teacher. That is why we are calling it “early learning” and child care. It is not just babysitting. This is a program that is designed to give children the best possible start in life.
We know that, traditionally, child care responsibilities are disproportionately shouldered by women. However, I hope that this law and evolving social norms will also help ensure a more equitable division of child care responsibilities between men and women.
I know that Bill C-35 is not the complete solution. It does not address caregiving responsibilities that many people, especially daughters, face for aging parents or responsibilities for caregiving for adult children with disabilities. I hope that this legislation is only the beginning of a wider societal dialogue about what we value as a society.
Caregiving has too long been invisible work done primarily by women in the unpaid economy. Our society has pushed the burden of caregiving from society onto the individual and, in particular, onto women’s unpaid care work. However, the pandemic has made visible many of the divisions and pressures in our society and I hope that it is allowing us to challenge the status quo of what we consider to be valuable work and to realize that community is important when raising families.
While Bill C-35 is an important first step, we need to ensure that we continue working to build a more equal and more prosperous Canada.
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I think my colleague will recall that in my speech I addressed the fact that this is a bill that is not going to necessarily solve forever every single complex problem about caregiving in our society. First of all, I hope it is going to have an enormous impact on many families, in the member's constituency as well as mine.
However, we need to rethink caregiving in our society. We need to look at what we value in our society with respect to work and come up with very productive solutions to those exact kinds of problems, such as people in precarious work or shift work, and those who are raising children with special needs. I also mentioned those who are caring for aging parents, because it is an equal burden that falls primarily on women in our society as well.
I hope the member will work with us in this Parliament to make sure that we continue to address those difficult questions. I look forward to working with him and others to make sure that we address all the issues and needs of Canadians and Canadian families.
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for raising that issue because this is very much an economic policy as well. The fact is I have heard the same thing. Businesses in my riding have told me they are struggling. Some who are nearing retirement are saying they are just going to close the doors because they cannot find people to work in their businesses. This is one of the greatest ways that we can make sure that women who want to be in the workforce, but have a barrier because of child care, are able to contribute and participate fully. Up to $2.80 goes back into our economy for every dollar we invest in child care, so I agree 100% that we cannot afford to not do this. It is an equality issue, but also an economic issue.
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I did not realize until I was grown how special it was that I had a Montessori teacher as a mother, because we did get that quality kind of engagement. That is why I said that this is not just about babysitting. This is not just about making sure children have someone to look after them. It is about the formation, the development, sparking that creativity, the learning, and making sure that by the time they get to grade 1 they already have the socialization and the ability to absorb and learn information. I very much appreciate the part about creativity, because that was something I had at a very early age, and I want every child in Canada to be able to access that same kind of childhood.
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, we must address the current affordability pressures while concurrently continuing to address the threat of climate change and building a prosperous low-carbon future. A price on pollution is an efficient market-based approach to reducing pollution, an approach that squarely addresses affordability. Under our plan, eight out of 10 Canadians receive more than what they pay, and that is the truth.
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased today to speak to Bill C-32, the fall economic statement implementation act, 2022.
I hope that we will pass it quickly through the House because it includes much-needed supports for Canadians during these challenging times. The last few years have not been easy. We have gone through a global pandemic. Many of us have lost loved ones. The economy shut down overnight. We witnessed horrific conditions in long-term care homes, and many of the existing divides in society were made visible, including inequalities that have gone ignored for too long.
Since March 2020, the world has changed. I know that many Canadians are struggling with illness, job loss and isolation. Frontline workers have physically risked their own lives and mental health to be there for others, domestic violence has increased and teenagers have missed a key milestone in their formative years.
Now, when everyone wants to get back to normal, we are faced with inflation and the rising cost of living. Our government will continue to be there to help Canadians and build a strong economy for the future.
Just as it seems like we may be putting the pandemic behind us, the world is facing a rise in tyranny and authoritarianism with emboldened dictators around the world acting more aggressively, triggering conflicts and egregious human rights violations. The most alarming of which is Putin's illegal invasion of Ukraine. This has shaken a world already reeling from the pandemic with supply chain disruptions; global food insecurity, which has left 50 million people in 45 countries on the brink of famine; and energy shortages, which have led to a global inflation crisis.
At the same time, the world continues to face a climate emergency with extreme weather events that have led to devastation, as we saw recently in Atlantic Canada with hurricane Fiona and, earlier this year, the rare derecho that hit parts of Ontario and Quebec, including my riding of Ottawa West—Nepean.
Canadians are resilient, but these have been trying times. Most of my constituents just want life to go back to normal. We are all exhausted, worried about our quality of life and uncertain about the future, but these are exactly the times when we all need to pull together the most. Through all of this, our Liberal government has been there, responding to keep Canadians safe and healthy and to mitigate against the worst effects of these crises.
I am not going to stand here and pretend that everything is going to be okay tomorrow. According to the fiscal update, while we will see improvements, we will likely still be battling inflation and possible economic slowdown for potentially another 18 months or more as the global economy corrects itself. There are two things we can do. First, we need to keep putting in place the building blocks for Canada to not only recover, but also prosper and lead the world in the new economy. Second, we need to ensure that those who need it most are able to make it through, and that the opportunities we create will benefit everyone.
Let us start with a few facts. One of our key economic goals during the height of the pandemic was to avoid major layoffs, business bankruptcies and high rates of unemployment coming out of it. In this, we were successful. There are 400,000 more Canadians working today than before the pandemic. We have recovered 116% of prepandemic jobs and our economy is larger than it was before.
At the same time, the fall economic statement is fiscally responsible. Canada's net debt-to-GDP ratio is the lowest in the G7. Our inflation rate is lower than the G20 average, the European average, the U.K. and the U.S. As, well, both Moody's and Standard and Poor's have confirmed Canada's AAA credit rating with a stable outlook. We are also investing in skills training, tax credits and a Canada growth fund for the new green economy, both to tackle climate change and the costs of climate-related disasters and to make sure Canada is well positioned to benefit from the economic opportunities of a net-zero economy.
However, none of this changes the fact that people are hurting right now. That is why the fall economic statement includes supports targeted specifically for those who need it most. We are doubling the GST rebate for the next six months. In fact, last week, 11 million Canadians automatically received hundreds of dollars in their bank accounts because of this.
About 4.2 million low-income working Canadians are receiving an extra $1,200 a year through the Canada workers benefit. With this fall economic statement, they will receive this four times a year instead of having to wait until tax time.
About 1.8 million low-income renters will receive a $500 top-up through the Canada housing benefit. Families with children under 12 will be eligible for up to $1,300 to cover dental care. We are also eliminating interest on all federal student and apprenticeship loans permanently. This is in addition to previous measures such as increases to the OAS and the GIS for seniors and the Canada child benefit, which have already lifted 1.3 million Canadians out of poverty, including 435,000 children and 45,000 seniors.
Also, we are addressing issues that contribute to the wage gap between women and men, including pay equity legislation, and are cutting child care fees by 50% and ultimately to $10 a day. This is putting thousands of dollars back into the pockets of Canadian families and allowing more women to stay in the workforce.
On top of that, we are making sure that in these uncertain times, vital programs such as employment insurance and the Canada pension plan will be there when Canadians need them. Let us get the facts straight. The opposition is referring to the regular annual increase to EI and CPP premiums as payroll taxes. This is misleading. Putting money away for retirement or in case people lose their jobs is not a tax. It is a safety net and it is essential.
With respect to the so-called taxes on groceries and home heating, what the opposition is talking about is the price on pollution. This is a revenue-neutral tax, which means that every single dollar is returned to Canadians in the province where it was collected. Because everybody gets the same amount back, it means the people who spend the least and need the most will get more. In Ontario, eight out of 10 Canadians are benefiting, getting more in the rebate than what they will pay. If they are seniors or students living in a one-bedroom apartment and taking public transit, they will pay far less for the price on pollution than the amount they get back. Therefore, as this so-called carbon tax goes up, the amount people get back will also go up. This will help not only the people who need it, but also the people who are doing their part in their households to fight climate change.
There are those on the other side of the House who say that a few hundred dollars here and there make no difference, so I want to talk about a young woman who called my office a few months ago. She was very embarrassed to say that she had resorted to using food banks. They only allow people a certain number of points and she had run out of points for the month. This call happened to be the day after the climate action incentive was distributed and I mentioned this to her. While she was on the phone with me she checked her bank account, and she said there was money in her account and that she could now get groceries.
The amounts that our government is providing make a real and tangible difference, and I hope all members will vote for this.
While it cannot solve all the problems in the global economy, the fall economic statement lays the groundwork for a strong recovery. This includes hundreds of additional dollars by doubling the GST/HST rebate, an additional $500 for low-income renters, $1,300 for dental care for children under 12, and an additional $300 every three months for workers under the Canada workers benefit.
We have been there for Canadians during the pandemic and we will continue to be there.
The fall economic statement not only includes vital supports for the most vulnerable Canadians during these difficult times, but also lays the groundwork for stability and future prosperity, a prosperity that we will make sure is shared by everyone. I know that after the last two years, it is very hard for many Canadians to be optimistic, but our economy is strong, our position is secure and our government has Canadians' backs.
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I am very glad to hear the hon. member opposite talk about support for housing, because in the fall economic statement we are including a $500 top-up for low-income renters through the Canada housing benefit, which is one of the benefits from our $70-billion national housing strategy.
I would add that this is very tangible. Right in my riding, at Michele Heights we have been able to build, through federal money, new community housing for families. We have also been able to build, at the Carlington Community Health Centre, affordable seniors housing for the very seniors the member was mentioning, which is right above a health centre so that these seniors have all of the supports they need when they go down the elevator.
This is making a difference, and I am very glad to see that my hon. colleague is so concerned about housing that she will vote for the fall economic statement implementation act.
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, housing is necessary. The budget for housing is $70 billion.
I would add that right in my riding, with the CMHC's help, we were able to build a new women's shelter. There was an old shelter in a house that was basically falling down, and now we have Nelson House, which not only is a women's shelter for women and their families, but is accessible and modular.
Opposition members say they do not see the results of our housing strategy, but all they have to do is drive 15 minutes down the road here in Ottawa to see what has been built for people with the national housing strategy.
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I have too short a time to talk about all of the initiatives, but in the fall economic statement, there is the $500 top-up for housing for the people receiving the Canada housing benefit.
I am very pleased that the member mentioned mental health, because our status of women committee right now is doing an incredibly important study on the mental health of young women and girls. I know that his colleague is working very closely with the rest of the committee members to make sure that we are addressing what is truly a crisis. The number one issue that is raised by my youth council is mental health, and it is the reason we will be there for Canadians.
I look forward to working together further with all members of the House to make sure that we address these important issues.
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, last week I attended Rise Up Ottawa, where we heard from students as young as 12 years old about unacceptable acts of hatred they experience just because they are Jewish. Many of them said they are hiding their Jewish identity to avoid being targeted. A brave teacher, Lisa Levitan, coordinated the event to give these youth a voice.
Nobody should feel scared to go to school because of their religion. No child should hide who they are in fear of Nazi symbols and rhetoric that should be so anathema to our society that they would be shunned instantaneously, yet they are not.
We need to teach all young people about the Holocaust, so they learn the danger of indifference to oppression.
The member for Ottawa Centre and I were among the only non-Jewish participants. We all have an obligation to speak out. To be silent is to cause harm. I ask the House to join me in calling for an end to Jew hatred.
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, Canada is committed to tackling the concurrent crises of global energy security and climate change, but we will do so in a manner that accounts for and works to minimize domestic emissions. We will also do so in a manner that ensures that any resulting emissions fit within Canada's climate plan. LNG is one of the tools in our tool box, and our government is committed to supporting the development of the LNG sector.
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, when we are talking about transition, we are not only talking about the future of the industry and sustainable jobs, we are talking about economic opportunities for communities across our country. Those enormous economic opportunities will be enabled through the transition to a low-carbon future. Those opportunities will vary by region, with a presence particularly in Alberta, and they will be based on local economies and geography.
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for mentioning the visit to Ottawa of Evgenia Kara-Murza, the wife of Vladimir Kara-Murza, who we had an opportunity to meet with last night.
I had the chance to meet Vladimir Kara-Murza a few years ago through the World Movement for Democracy. I found him to be a man of conviction, a man of courage, a man who is an inspiration to all those in Russia who are fighting for freedom and democracy, as well as fighting against tyranny and authoritarianism.
I have called for the immediate release of Vladimir Kara-Murza. Does my colleague join in that call?
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour Savanna Pikuyak, a young Inuk woman who was murdered just weeks after arriving in Ottawa to study nursing at Algonquin College in my riding.
Before coming to Ottawa, Savanna studied pre-health at Nunavut Arctic College and worked at the health centre in her home community in Nunavut. All she wanted was to help people, but on September 11, at 22 years old, Savanna was senselessly murdered in the apartment she was renting.
Too often, young indigenous women come to our city and do not have access to safe housing. Violence against indigenous women is very real and very devastating. Because there was no safe place for Savanna to live, her family and her community are grieving.
I want to express my deepest condolences to Savanna Pikuyak's family and community. We will not forget her.
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to present petition e-3978 that calls on the Friday before Mother's Day to be henceforth known as civilian spouse or partner of a military member appreciation day. We know there are over 50,000 civilian spouses of serving military members and reservists and this is a way to ensure that we are properly recognizing those who serve alongside the serving military member. It is particularly appropriate that I am doing this the same week that we are celebrating Military Family Appreciation Day.
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