I have knocked on tens of thousands of doors in our community. One thing we all agree on is a better future for our kids and grandchildren.
That includes securing a good job to provide financial stability, making sure our children are receiving the best care possible and having a safe and affordable roof over our heads. This Family Day, I’m reflecting on all the ways our government is supporting families to make life more affordable and the work we have ahead of us.
Before I was elected, Peterborough-Kawartha had one of the highest jobless rates in the country. Now, Peterborough was just named the seventh best city in Canada to find work in, according to a Bank of Montreal report. Our jobless rate has been lowered by nearly half and our local economy has grown by somewhere between $150 million and $250 million depending on the estimate, according to the Workforce Development Board.
Nationally, Canada’s economy had experienced the slowest growth rate since the Great Depression and we were entering a technical recession. Since forming government in 2015, Canadians have created more than 800,000 jobs, 600,000 of them full-time positions, with unemployment at historic lows. It is clear that our government’s commitment to growing the economy is working.
In every family, the one thing that brings us together is a special place called home. As of November, 1,432 families in Peterborough-Kawartha have found safe and affordable housing with the assistance of nearly $7.5 million in federal government investments. Almost one million families across Canada now have a home due to our government’s investments, and through Canada’s first-ever National Housing Strategy we will build on this success in the years to come.
The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) supports 17,300 children in Peterborough-Kawartha. Every month, families are receiving an average of $650, tax-free, to help buy healthy snacks and supplies for school and to cover the costs of after-school programming and child care. In total, more than $6.3 million comes into the riding every month through the CCB. Across the country, more than 300,000 kids have been lifted out of poverty by this three-year-old program.
High-quality, affordable child care is more than a convenience — it’s a necessity. Our Early Learning and Child Care Bilateral Agreement with the provinces and territories is leading to the creation of up to 40,000 more affordable child care spaces by next year. We are on track to deliver on those results, with already more than a third of the target achieved in 2017-18. Changes to Employment Insurance (EI) have given families more flexibility than ever. A new EI Parental Sharing Benefit next month will give fathers the opportunity to stay home and support moms who often take on the role of caregiver. We have also made it easier to receive benefits when caring for an ill loved one.
More than 850 local students have been employed through the Canada Summer Jobs program, investments are being made in creating violence-free homes, and we are addressing the gender-wage gap. I made a promise to all of the parents and grandparents of Peterborough-Kawartha to help shape our children’s future for the better.
We’ve come a long way in three years and I will continue to work hard to ensure that progress continues.