October 9, 2013
Toronto, ON—With the issue of childcare having long reached a critical point, the National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada (NAPWC) urgently reiterates their call for a national childcare program that will genuinely meets the needs of working-class women and their families and the scrapping of the racist and anti-woman Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP). As women are faced with a chronically underfunded and increasingly privatized childcare system, it is clear that the existing patchwork of incentive-based government benefits fails to address the fundamental need for national childcare. This is no more evident than in the continued peddling of the LCP as Canada’s de facto childcare program as an exploitative means to liberate one group of women at the expense of another. We firmly reject this current framework wherein childcare is reified into a burden that is relegated onto women from the Third World and wherein all working-class women are denied this fundamental need.
Disguised under the rhetoric of “family care,” “care-giving” and “choice,” the Conservative government metes out a paltry $100 a month per child from its budget. With current private care costs estimated at $1,500 a month per child, the numbers simply do not add up. The current austerity agenda has also spelled a number of cutbacks to social services, which has only exacerbated the privatization of fundamental needs such as childcare and healthcare. Instead of developing and sustaining a national childcare program that will genuinely address the needs of all Canadians, what currently exists is a system that doles out care in terms of profit and affordability for the benefit of a few and not for the value and necessity of childcare in itself.
This abject failure to address the critical issue of childcare has reinforced the ongoing use of the LCP to meet Canada’s ever-pressing childcare needs, which, as the experience of the Filipino Canadian community has shown, has been tantamount to the deskilling, marginalization and poverty of the Filipino women and their families who have been imported into Canada to fill this need. As progressive Filipino Canadian women who have been calling for over 20 years for the scrapping of the LCP alongside our demand for national childcare, we again affirm that a national childcare program cannot be achieved as long as the LCP continues to exist. We also emphasize that women cannot truly be liberated so long as it is achieved on the backs of working-class women of colour.
For working-class women all over Canada, the issue of national childcare is not simply an unachievable goal that remains in the realm of idle debate. It is a vital aspect of our struggle for our genuine liberation, particularly as we are the hardest hit by the regressive reforms to employment and social policy. Working-class and racialized women are faced with wage decreases and greater employment insecurity, while being forced to make informal childcare arrangements along with juggling multiple jobs in order to provide for increasing childcare and living expenses. In the struggle towards our liberation, we refuse such conditions wherein the burdens and failures of the current economic system are offloaded solely onto our backs.
In the continued denial of our fundamental needs and with the true costs of childcare being borne by working-class women, we will stop at nothing short of our genuine liberation as we heighten the demand for a national childcare program.
Scrap the racist and anti-woman LCP! Universal childcare now!
End the exploitation, march for women’s equality, human rights and genuine development!
Organizations under the NAPWC:
Philippine Women Centre of B.C.
Philippine Women Centre of Ontario
Philippine Women Centre of Quebec