A panel appointed by the Conservative Harper government to find ways of improving access to child care is recommending that Employment Insurance benefits for new parents should be increased from the current 50 weeks to 18 months and eventually to 2½ years.
What is really exciting for Dads is that the report recommends that the benefit be extended to both parents. With the current 50 weeks, parents can split the time with one or the other taking it. With the new recommendations, both parents would be eligible for the full time available. Imagine. Both parents at home for 2½ years with their kids.
What a fantastic idea for our society to be able to give parents the financial ability to stay at home longer with their kids during those very important formative years, and still be able to transition back into the workforce.
There is also a recommendation that employers “top up” EI benefits to remove financial pressure on parents to return to work.
The government commissioned this report to find ways to ease the childcare crunch in Canada where demand for infant spaces far exceeds available spaces. Nice to see some acknowledgment from the feds that there is a shortage of high quality care in Canada and that this is probably the biggest issue facing working families in this country.
I urge every Canadian reader of this blog to email their MP and give full support to this report. Human Resources Minister Monte Solberg says he is in no hurry to act on these recommendations, so some public support would go a long way to keeping this report from being shelved.