April 26, 2021

Episode #41: A National Childcare Program—A Conversation with Maryam Monsef, Canada’s Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development

In its recently tabled budget, the federal government announced a significant investment in developing a national childcare program, investing $30 billion over the next five years and just over $8 billion in an early learning program.

Access to quality, reliable, and affordable childcare is critical to not only enabling broad and inclusive economic participation but also developing Canada’s most valuable resource—the next generation. In our pre-budget analysis, we noted that:

Research is increasingly conclusive that there is a large return on high-quality early childhood education, and that this return is highest among the poorest and most vulnerable children. Strategic investments in childcare can help Canada to unlock its full potential, by taking steps to ensure this potential is not squandered from the start.

“Five things to get right in the 2021 Federal Budget”

On this episode, we spoke to The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Canada’s Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development to learn more about this historic investment, why it is so important, what it means for Canadians, and how this program will roll out over the coming weeks and months.

About Minister Monsef:

The Honourable Maryam Monsef was first elected in 2015 as the Member of Parliament for Peterborough—Kawartha.  

Minister Monsef is a dedicated community organizer, a former Peterborough mayoral candidate, and a co-recipient of the YMCA’s Peace Medallion.

A passionate volunteer, Minister Monsef has sat on the boards and committees of several high-profile organizations. She was the Vice-President of the YWCA of Peterborough and Haliburton Board of Directors, and a former director of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group as well as the New Canadians Centre, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting immigrants, refugees, and other newcomers in the Peterborough and Northumberland regions.

Minister Monsef was also the co-founder of the Red Pashmina Campaign, a grassroots initiative she started while at Trent University, which has successfully raised over $150,000 to date to help support women in Afghanistan.

Minister Monsef has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Trent University, and speaks English, Farsi, and Dari.

You can also read her official bio here: https://pm.gc.ca/en/cabinet/honourable-maryam-monsef

In This Episode:

  • Minister Monsef’s journey to politics and how her story influences her work as Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development
  • Childcare as good social and economic policy
  • Impact of investment on rural communities
  • Working with the provinces and territories to roll out program
  • Access and quality of childcare spaces
  • Working with Alberta for emissions reduction
  • How business can be a partner in advancing gender equality

Resources Mentioned:

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