Canadian families get generous parental leave, childcare subsidies, and guaranteed healthcare. Critics claim America can’t afford to follow suit, but it’s increasingly clear that it can’t afford not to.
Did you spend time with your family on Feb. 15? Canadians did. For many of our northern neighbors, this Monday wasn’t Presidents Day but Family Day, an official paid holiday created in several provinces for the sole purpose of promoting quality time for families.
Canada’s Family Day is the capstone in a long tradition of family-friendly policies that support and strengthen the family unit. Although America has a deep-seated philosophy that strong families are key to a strong country, our state and national policies simply don’t measure up.
Despite our fears that socialism is an unwanted and perhaps contagious disease, in these tough economic times, most Americans would welcome the kind of public benefits provided to Canadian families. New parents can take up to 50 weeks of paid maternity or paternity leave, at up to 55 percent salary. They are also guaranteed a comparable job when they return to work at the end of the time off.
To help offset the costs of raising children, a variety of subsidy programs are available, both to working parents who use day care and stay-at-home moms and dads. These benefits are in addition to guaranteed healthcare for all families, regardless of income, employment history, size of workplace, or preexisting health conditions.
Dubious distinction on parental leave
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