The federal government has raised the ante on childcare in Canada with its latest budget, one that will see a massive new investment in spaces across the country. It’s time for Alberta to call that bet with an equally substantial commitment of its own: delivering $20 per day childcare to anyone who wants or needs it.
In a province where jobs and the economy are on nearly everyone’s priority list, we should be talking far more about the importance of affordable childcare. That’s because it offers enormous economic benefits, from increasing the proportion of women in the workforce to raising the median household income across the province. It would increase GDP, increase tax revenues for governments, and increase equity and equality within and across workforces. What’s not to love?
In terms of attracting and retaining talent, having the best childcare system in the country would create a major competitive advantage. The province would become an even more powerful magnet for talent. Those looking to leave high-priced markets like Vancouver and Toronto would be even more drawn to the cost of living in Alberta. When it comes to a long-term return on investment, it doesn’t get much better than childcare in the 21st century.