Federal budget criticized for ignoring women

According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, this year’s federal budget has not done much for women in Canada

The young pregnant woman plans the family budget in kitchen. Photo: SalFalko. Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

The young pregnant woman plans the family budget in kitchen. Photo: SalFalko. Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

This year’s federal budget focused again on returning to a balanced budget by 2015 keeping taxes low while supporting jobs and growth.

Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty said, “Canada has a well-deserved reputation for fiscal responsibility and managing taxpayers’ money responsibly while making key investments to help Canadian families and the economy.”

However, according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), this year’s budget has not done much for women in Canada.

The 427 page budget document ‘On road to balance: creating jobs and opportunities’ has two items which cater entirely to women. The proposal to provide $150,000 to increase mentorship among women entrepreneurs; and the renewal of $25 million over five years beginning in 2015-16 to continue efforts to reduce violence against aboriginal women and girls.

CCPA’s senior economist Armine Yalnizyan and senior researcher Kate McInturff trashed the federal budget in their report “Bad Math: Why Budget 2014 fails to add up for women.

Giving a sense of relative spending, their report states that “the projected 2014 budget for status of women amounts to 0.01 per cent of total spending in the federal budget” which is “one one-hundredth of one percent.”

The Alternative Federal Budget released by the CCPA had called for an investment of $380 million over three years in a National Action Plan to address violence against women and an investment in a federal child care program.

The federal budget introduced the Universal Child Care Benefit which will provide parents up to $100 a month to families for each child under the age of six.

But that’s not enough for the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) who say that Canada lacks a national child care system when child care is the second highest expense after housing. In Ontario, day care ranges from $800 to $1,200 a month.

According to CLC’s report “Child care in Canada: a scarce resource,” most Canadian mothers with young children are in the labour force. In 2012, 69 per cent with 0-2 year olds, 76 per cent with 3-5 year olds and 84 per cent with 6-15 year olds were employed.

“We needed a federal budget that works in the best interests of all Canadians – workers, students, veterans, seniors, everyone. Instead we got a do-nothing budget that only serves corporations and the wealthiest Canadians,” said Paul Moist, the national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

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Federal budget criticized for ignoring women