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National child-care system would boost women’s job numbers and economy, report says – Peninsula News Review

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A new report estimates that hundreds of thousands of women could get back into the labour force if the Liberals follow through on a pledge to create a national child care system.

The paper to be released Wednesday makes the case that federal spending to create a national program would “pay for itself” in the form of extra income tax, extra spending and reduced social costs as more parents entered the workforce.

There is also the potential for tens of thousands of construction jobs as new centres and spaces are built, along with an employment boost in the child-care sector as it expands.

Report author and economist Jim Stanford says the lack of accessible and affordable daycare is a key reason why fewer women in their 30s and 40s are in the workforce than men the same age.

He estimates that between 363,000 and 726,000 women in the “prime parenting age cohort” between 25 and 50 could join the labour force over a 10-year period as a national child-care program is developed.

Among them would be up to 250,000 women moving into full-time jobs.

Stanford’s paper builds on previous research into the economic spinoffs of Quebec’s publicly funded daycare system, but develops estimates based on how a national system might look.

The Liberals have promised to make a long-term spending commitment to create a national child-care system, seeing it as a key avenue to help women harder hit during the pandemic in what has been dubbed a “she-cession.”

“Economists have agreed for years that child care has huge economic benefits, but we just can’t seem to get the ball over the line in Canada,” says Stanford, director of the Centre for Future Work.

“I finally think the ducks are being lined up here and we can actually make this happen,” he adds.

“This really is the moment when we can finally move forward, and it is a moment when Canada’s economy needs every job that it can get.”

A recent report by RBC economists Dawn Desjardins and Carrie Freestone calculated that 20,600 women fell out of the labour force between February and October even as 68,000 more men joined it.

The situation was most acute for women ages 20 to 24, and 35 to 39; one of the reasons the duo cited for the sharper drop was the pandemic-caused closure of child-care centres.

Child-care centres, which often run on tight margins and rely on steep parental fees, couldn’t keep up with costs during spring shutdowns and shed about 35,000 jobs between February and July. Some centres have closed for good.

The worry Stanford notes is that many of the job losses will become permanent and more centres will close without financial assistance from governments.

Scotiabank economists Jean-Francois Perrault and Rebekah Young suggested in September that creating nationally what Quebec has provincially would cost $11.5 billion a year.

Their analysis also suggested federal coffers could reap billions in new tax revenue as women in particular would get into the workforce in greater numbers, offsetting some of the overall cost.

Stanford’s estimate is for a boost to government revenues of between $18 billion and $30 billion per year, split between federal and provincial governments.

“This literally is a social program that pays for itself,” Stanford says.

“The economic benefits of giving this first-class care to early-age children, and getting their mothers in the labour market working to their full potential, are enormous.”

READ MORE: National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

He argues that provinces, mired in a fiscal quagmire worse than the federal government’s, shouldn’t stand in the way of “reasonable demands” from the federal government to create a national system.

Provinces have responsibility for child-care delivery. Stanford says they cannot afford to look this gift horse of new revenues in the mouth given the federal government would foot most of the bill.

Jordan Press, The Canadian Press


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Canadian dollar rises as investors weigh U.S. stimulus prospects

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Canadian dollar

TORONTO (Reuters) – The Canadian dollar edged higher against its U.S. counterpart on Monday as investors weighed the prospect of additional U.S. economic stimulus, with the currency steadying after a large decline on Friday.

The loonie was trading 0.1% higher at 1.2717 to the greenback, or 78.63 U.S. cents, having traded in a range of 1.2687 to 1.2736.

On Friday, the Canadian currency weakened 0.8%, its biggest decline in nearly three months, as new COVID-19 restrictions in China weighed on oil prices. Oil is one of Canada‘s major exports.

U.S. crude prices dipped 0.2% to $52.15 a barrel on Monday as worries about demand due to renewed lockdowns competed with support from U.S. stimulus plans.

Officials in President Joe Biden’s administration tried to head off Republican concerns that his $1.9 trillion pandemic relief proposal was too expensive on a Sunday call with Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed to meet next month, the prime minister’s office said on Friday following a call between the two leaders in which they vowed to join forces to combat the pandemic in North America.

Canadian government bond yields were lower across a flatter curve in sympathy with U.S. Treasuries. The 10-year eased 2.1 basis points to 0.825%, extending a pullback from a 10-month high on Thursday at 0.892%.

Canada‘s GDP data for November is due on Friday, which could help guide interest rate expectations.

Last week, the Bank of Canada held its key overnight interest rate at 0.25%, saying the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine and stronger foreign demand is brightening the outlook for the Canadian economy in the medium term.

 

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Paul Simao)

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Canada worried by Biden’s ‘Buy American’ plans, will make issue a priority

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OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada is worried by U.S. President Joe Biden‘s plans for a “Buy American” program to boost domestic industry and it will be a priority for talks with the new administration, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Monday.

The two neighbors have highly integrated economies as well as one of the world’s largest bilateral trading relationshipsand Canada fears its firms could lose out if U.S. procurement rules are tightened.

Biden is expected to sign an executive order later on Monday to increase domestic manufacturing and close loopholes in existing provisions, which structure the $600 billion in goods and services the federal government buys each year.

“I am concerned. We are always concerned by ‘Buy American’ … for sure that is going to be an issue very very high on our agenda in our work with the Biden administration,” Freeland told reporters.

Canadian governments have had to deal with ‘Buy American’ provisions from previous U.S. governments only to discover “the devil is very often in the details,” she added.

“We find we are very often able to explain to our American partners that trade is in the mutual interests of Canadians and of Americans,” she said.

Biden’s first conversation with a foreign leader last Friday was with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who raised the “Buy American” issue and urged the President to “avoid unintended consequences that can hurt both countries,” a Canadian government source said.

 

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Chris Reese and Paul Simao)

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Opinion: Plant protein beckons as a key component of economic diversity – Calgary Herald

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Article content continued

Alberta can add value through processing to many of our crops — fractionating the plants into ingredients such as protein, starch and fibre that will then be exported or further developed locally into commercial products for food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, cosmetics, pet food or livestock feed.

Take peas alone: if we process 35 per cent of the average pea crop grown in Alberta, it will add an additional $1 billion annually to the provincial economy compared to just exporting the crop as a bulk commodity.

But there is growing competition globally in plant-ingredient processing and there is already disparity within the Prairie provinces.

In Western Canada, $1 billion has been invested into protein processing plants in the past few years. However, Alberta has not yet announced a single commercial facility that extracts pea protein, even though our farmers grow nearly half of the field peas in the West. Every tonne is exported.

Alberta is at risk of letting this moment pass us by while others move ahead decisively.

What needs to happen?

First, and most importantly, the provincial government must make the plant-ingredient processing sector one of its top priorities.

Developing a plan is key. Elected officials and bureaucrats at all levels need to demonstrate a depth of knowledge — publicly and in private negotiations — backed with a clear strategy and a true commitment. Premier Jason Kenney and Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen have said agriculture will drive economic recovery and have allocated funds for investing in value-added processing. Focusing on a cohesive plant-based strategy and making it a government priority will ensure we seize this realistic chance to diversify.

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