Saturday, October 22, 2011

Investing in Social Infrastructure: Strategic & Effective Public Policy

I've come across some excellent articles and ideas I wanted to pass along. It's so frustrating to me that governments and other stakeholders don't understand that investing and strengthening the social infrastructure has so many benefits. There are so many people who are on the tipping point from a socio-economic perspective right now. We need to move fast to stop the increasing numbers of people who are being pulled down by the undertow. 

When governments strategically and adequately fund social, health and community services it benefits the recipients of those services directly by improving their quality of life, stability. participation in the labour market and other activities which benefit society.

We can't seem to get past the old school idea of infrastructure jobs as being building roads, bridges and structures. Those are important jobs and definitely contribute to our society but it is time to recognize that jobs in the social, health and community sector are of equal importance for a many reasons. One of those is the intrinsic gains and benefits to recipients, their families and communities. Another is the economic benefits of the jobs in these sectors in local communities and the larger economy of the province.

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Watch the video: 
Baby boomers retire rich, young couples with kids stuck in economic squeeze: report

SASKATOON - A Canadian research institute says babyboomers are retiring as the wealthiest generation in history while couples with young children are stuck in an economic squeeze.

The Human Early Learning Partnership at the University of British Columbia released a report Tuesday calling on federal and provincial governments to spend $22 billion on social programs to fix a declining standard of living for young families.

It recommends funding a system that prevents parents from spending more than $10 a day on child care and allows for 18-month parental leaves from work.

Public policy professor Paul Kershaw, a self-professed crusader for families, released the findings in Saskatoon with colleagues from the University of Saskatchewan. He said he wants the report to be part of the Nov. 7 provincial election debate in Saskatchewan.

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Betty Ann Adam, The StarPhoenix October 18, 2011
Canada needs a "New Deal for Families" to solve the enormous social and economic upheaval caused by soaring housing costs, creators of a study released Tuesday at the University of Saskatchewan say.

The generation raising children today has less money and time than Baby Boomers, despite a doubling of the Canadian economy since 1976, said Paul Kershaw, a family policy expert from the University of British Columbia.
The lack of time for children is showing up in a growing number of kindergarten pupils who are not ready for school. One in three are not ready in areas of social, emotional, and physical health or language and communications skills, Muhajarine said.

The solution is a "New Deal for Families," built on three major public policy changes, Kershaw argues.

The New Deal includes:
  • extending benefits for new parents to 18 months from 12 for all single and dual earner households, including self-employed and unemployed parents and should provide a minimum benefit that would eliminate poverty for families with children under 18 months, he said.
  • providing $10 per day childcare and finally, promoting flextime to help employees combine work and family, making them more productive while at work. 
  • providing incentives for employers to limit work weeks to 35 hours.
The status quo is costing the Canadian business community $4 billion per year, according to estimates reached by researchers in collaboration with British Columbia chartered accountants.
 
Kershaw believes the plan would control health care expenditures, control crime, reduce education spending and prepare a labour force that will be more job-ready when they graduate because they’re more school-ready at the outset.

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Paul Kershaw. 
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The business community gets it, why not governments? 
Vancouver Board of Trade (VBOT)

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