PM Trudeau delivers remarks on the Canada Child Benefit and shared parental leave in Regina
Hello everyone. Thank you for joining us today. I’d like to start by saying how great it is as always to have Ralph Goodale with us. Now the rest of Canada might know him as our Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, but all of you around here just know him as ‘Ralph.’ I know him as the hardest-working man in politics. Someone I can count on to keep Canadians safe, someone who makes sure that Saskatchewan’s needs are always front and centre, and someone who makes sure that our government stays focused on the things that matter most to Canadians.
Thank you my friend for everything you do.
I also want to thank Mayor Michael Fougere for being here. It’s great to see you again, Michael. And I want to recognize MLA Muhammad Fiaz here as well, and mostly I want to thank all the parents and kids who let me be a part of your day here at George Bothwell Library.
As I’m here today for a parental leave announcement – we’re talking about families, we’re talking about kids – I think now is a great opportunity for me to officially congratulate Karina Gould, who is the first sitting federal cabinet minister to have a baby while being a cabinet minister. So she’s... I’ve heard from her, she’s doing very well, and of course is taking some important time with her family right now.
As you know, our government is working hard to bring about real and positive changes for Canadian families. In 2016, we introduced the Canada Child Benefit, which gives more money to parents to help them with the high costs of raising children. The CCB now helps about 228,000 children throughout Saskatchewan. On average, we’re talking about more than 700—more than 7,700 dollars that were put back into the bank accounts of Saskatchewan’s hardworking families in the 2017, 2018 benefit year.
And now, as important as this benefit is in helping pay for things like music lessons, new skates, or summer camps, the one thing I know all parents wish they had is more time. More time to just slow down, to watch their kids learn and grow, to help build play forts and go for walks and visit the library. This is most especially true when our kids are very young and need us the most. For many Canadian families, that’s where the maternity and parental benefits available through employment insurance come into play, providing greater financial security to parents who take time off work.
At the same time, we know that this time is seldom shared equally. For a variety of reasons it’s often mothers who elect to stay home. Well our government believes that Canadian families should have more flexibility when it comes to raising their kids during those important early moments in life. And that’s why, in our most recent budget we announced our plan to introduce our new “use it or lose it” employment insurance parental sharing benefit. With this new benefit, two-parent families who agree to share parental leave could receive an additional five weeks of leave.
For families who choose to take 18 months of parental leave rather than 12, that could represent up to 8 additional weeks of leave. For families in Regina and all over Canada, those additional weeks of leave will allow parents to spend more time with their small children so long as they agree to share their parental leave.
This change will make it easier for women to return to work sooner if they so choose, knowing that their young child will be cared for by the other parent. It will help to address some of the patterns of discrimination that many women experience during the hiring process, and it’ll give both parents, including adoptive parents and same-sex parents and opportunity to bond with their children to feel more confident in their ability to care for their kids and to set up patterns of equal parenting that can last a lifetime.
This isn’t just a good idea in theory, it works. We know from experience in other jurisdictions that incentives like the EI parental sharing benefit can make a big difference in promoting equal parenting and helping women get ahead. That’s good news for parents, it’s good news for children, and it’s especially good news for Canadian women who work hard every day to support their families at work and at home, because making sure that there are opportunities for women to succeed in the workforce is not just the nice thing to do or the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. It grows our economy, it creates better opportunity when everyone had a real and fair chance to succeed; everyone succeeds more.
Thank you very much for being here today, and I’m looking forward to saying hi to a whole bunch of families right now.