Canada has a big decision to make this October 19 and to help you cast an informed vote where you and your kids are concerned, we've distilled the promises that each party has made to parents so far.
- Will double the amount of money kicked in by the government for low- and middle-income families contributing to Registered Education Savings Plans. That means that a family earning below $44,000 would get $200 for the first $500 they contribute and a family earning between that and $88,000 will receive $100 on the first $500 they contribute, translating into as much as $2,200 per student in matching government funds.
- Will develop a national, toll-free drug help line for parents looking for guidance and information regarding drug use among young people.
- Will align Canada's child car seat regulations with those of the U.S., allowing for a better variety of products -- and more competitive prices -- at retail.
- Will increase the maximum amount of the Adoption Expense Tax Credit from $15,000 to $20,000 and make it fully refundable, making it more affordable for Canadian families to adopt.
- Will usher in the Canada Child Benefit, a tax-free benefit that will be targeted to income, to take the place of the Universal Child Care Benefit.
- Will create jobs and opportunities for young Canadians by investing $300 million each year for three years, in a renewed Youth Employment Strategy, resulting in the creation of 40,000 youth jobs for each of the three years.
- Will make parental benefits under EI more flexible by allowing parents to take smaller blocks of time during a period of up to 18 months or by allowing parents to extend their leave up to 18 months at a lower benefit rate.
- Will create a national child care program resulting in one million $15-a-day spots in day cares across the country.
- Will invest $200 million over four years to create 40,000 youth jobs and crackdown on unpaid internships.
- Will honour the expanded Universal Child Care Benefit.
- Will give $28 million to Sports Canada to support youth sports and to involve children from low-income families and other underrepresented groups in team sports.
- Will abolish tuition fees for post-secondary education by 2020, starting with those students who do not have adequate financial means.
- Will implement a student debt forgiveness program that includes the elimination of federal student debt above $10,000, zero interest on new student loans and making more money available for bursaries.