Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister, recently undertook a tour of Moncton emphasizing the government’s childcare plan and its economic implications.
“Early learning and childcare deliver a triple impact in terms of economic benefits. It brings substantial affordability for young families, amounting to approximately $3,900 per child in savings. This is a significantly major relief for families,” said Freeland. She projects these savings to positively affect young families in improving affordability, ensuring child welfare, and enabling women to rejoin the workforce.
Nevertheless, the escalating cost of living is not just a struggle for young families but for all Canadians. Freeland acknowledges this burning issue, particularly for the communities in Moncton and across New Brunswick. She detailed other support mechanisms by the Federal Government, such as the grocery rebate and the Canada Workers Benefit.
“These benefits, determined by income level in case of the grocery rebate, apply to all Canadians. About 11 million Canadians have received them. These measures offer substantial support to a large number of people, primarily those most vulnerable,” explained Freeland. She keenly added, “This support might not cover all expenses, but it provides considerable assistance for those in need.”
Freeland drew particular attention to the Canada Workers Benefit, which provides support to working populations, including grocery store associates and individuals in service sectors across various cities. The Canada Workers Benefit is now being paid in advance, she added, recognizing that many Canadians struggle to meet their monthly bills.
However, the pressures of a rising cost of living are widely felt by individuals and organizations alike. At the YWCA Moncton, this strain is evident in the growing number of women, particularly seniors, who face homelessness due to renovation evictions or inflated rent.
Presently, the demand for support from YWCA Moncton surpasses its capacity, especially with abundant mental health and financial pressures linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite federal fund increases in response to the cost of living, Alicia Mazerolle, associate director of YWCA, states that these efforts fall short of covering the increased demand.
Dialogue, collaboration, and maintaining an understanding relationship with the federal government are crucial for the future, believes Mazerolle, emphasising that the federal funders for housing funds have a strong collaborative history with the community.
Despite these adaptive efforts, issues such as inflation, pensions, and rent persist. Frank Francis finds himself battling health problems, delayed Employment Insurance payments, and a housing market that has more than tripled the value of the house he sold just two years ago. Despite the challenges, he maintains an optimistic outlook, although he believes that rent should be capped and that the current support measures are inadequate.
Minister Freeland ensures the existence of government programs designed to provide financial relief for those who need it the most. While acknowledging the ongoing strain faced by Canadians, she emphasized the government’s targeted aid measures, stating, “These measures are there. They’re targeted at those who need help the most and they’re offering some relief right now, when it’s needed the most.”