The Liberal Party of Canada released yesterday their Pink Book, Volume III: An Action Plan for Canadian Women. I tweeted overall disappointment in not addressing immigration issues and specifically that there was no discussion or proposal for improving the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program that brings women to Canada as nannies to provide child care for Canadian women (often leaving behind their own children in the process).
The third volume in the Pink Book series does make commitments on child care and on a “national care-giving strategy” (p. 8) but doesn’t connect the dots. Here’s what they say about early learning and child care, under the general heading of Women in the Economy:
“The National Liberal Women’s Caucus recommends that a new federal Liberal government: Work with the provinces and territories to build a system of affordable, accessible and high-quality early learning and childcare spaces across the country, including programs to meet the unique needs of rural families” (p. 6).
Continuing in the same category, they propose to “Establish a ‘Bridging-to-Employment’ program covering the first 6 weeks of salary for new immigrant and visible minority women employees. Workplace educational programs should also be expanded to help break down existing racial and gender stereotypes” (p. 7).
The problem with these policy directions include not recognizing that much of the patchwork that is the child care system in Canada is provided by immigrant women in the informal, unlicensed sector. Canada brings in TFWs/nannies to address labour shortages. The human resource issues in regulated child care are numerous and are being examined by a federal body, but again, there is no link made in this third volume of policies to improve life for women in Canada.
A truly comprehensive plan for women in Canada requires reconciling immigration policy that exploits migrant women workers, does not deliver ‘high-quality’ early learning, and furthers racial and gender stereotypes with the plans to create an affordable, accessible and high quality system. The overlaps and gaps are clear.
An interesting piece is the attention paid to language in legislation, including a commitment to change foreign policy wording of “children in armed conflict” to “child soldiers”. Curious.