Open Letter from Sister Dora

Response to the Federal Budget 


An Open letter to the Sisters of OPSEU Region 3
Response to the Federal Budget January 2009
Budgets, be they federal or provincial, have an enormous impact on the women of this country.
As your Region 3 Provincial Women's Committee Representative, I am compelled to share my great disappointment in this new budget which fails completely, to protect Canadian families against the recession.
There is no focus on the serious issues that women face.  Access to affordable and high quality child care is one of the mainstays of Ontario families and without it, parents cannot work or study.  Canadians pay some of the highest child care fees in the world and yet less than 20% of working parents have access to regulated child care in this country.  Unfortunately, Canada ranks last among OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries for investment and adequate child care service provision.  Quality early learning and child care services are absent from this federal budget.  Cheryl DeGras, President of the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care says that investment in child care is a bankable investment.  "Tax cuts are not the answer for families who need affordable child care; tax cuts don't create spaces and they don't help families who struggle to pay for child care."
In 2005, Prime Minister Harper pulled the funding for Best Start programs that were planned to expand in a number of Ontario municipalities.  With these programs our Provincial Government could build physical and social bridges that would go far to preparing our future workforce, reduce poverty and create new jobs for both men and women.   Families will need to look to the Provincial government to spend some of that money allocated to infrastructure in this budget, on the child care needs of this province. 
and the list is endless.  An additional 5 weeks of Employment Insurance sounds terrific but the problem of qualifying for it in the first place, remains.  Extending benefits without addressing the pressing need to extend eligibility is useless.  And further, this budget opens the door to further attacks on pay equity for women.  And it doesn't create one single child care space.
I encourage you to send a letter of protest and disappointment to the editor of your local newspaper and also to your Member of Parliament (no stamp required).  They need to hear us loud and clear, that this federal budget falls far short of the expectations of Ontario's women.
In solidarity, dora 

"History is Herstory too."