Should a monthly cheque for $100 really be branded a child care program?
That's what the Conservative government doles out to parents for each kid under the age of six to provide "choice in child care."
The problem with the "Universal Child Care Benefit"? The Child Care Resource and Research Unit crunched the numbers, and found that it covers only a tiny fraction of the actual cost of child care.
What's worse? The annual cost ($2.5 billion) to what amounts to a government allowance for infants to pre-schoolers means $17.5 billion has been spent on the program since its launch in July 2006. To put that number in perspective, 700,000 child care spaces could be created each year with that kind of money to fill a huge need.
Currently, there are only enough regulated child care spaces in Canada for about 19% of children from infants to age 12, and it's especially hard to find spots for infants and toddlers, according to the Let's Rethink Child Care campaign.
And for many families, child care is the second highest expense after housing for many families, so spending money on creating spaces would amount to far greater savings for families than the monthly $100 baby bonus cheque.
But don't take our word for it. Check out what parents are paying for child care: