New poll shows Canadians want to make family a priority

Feb 08, 2012

Canadians want to make family a priority – 85 per cent want to spend more time with their families and 60 per cent want governments to support policy changes that make it easier to raise a family, according to a national poll by McAllister Opinion Research about research led by University of British Columbia professor Paul Kershaw.

“Despite having all the amenities of modern life, two-thirds of resist the idea that today’s families have it easier than in the past,” said Kershaw. The McAllister poll examined public attitudes about the degree to which we prioritize time and responsibility in this country. This is the second set of data to come out of the poll; earlier data examined Canadians’ attitudes about public funding priorities.

The poll shows that 60 per cent of Canadians ‘agree’ or ‘somewhat agree’ that ‘compared to what is spent in other areas, Canadian governments do not do enough for families raising young kids today.’ Accordingly, 60 per cent indicated they would ‘vote for a politician who has publicly committed to fighting for better government policies for families with young children.’

Kershaw, an associate professor at UBC’s Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP), said, “it is far more common that today both parents need to work in order to eke out a standard of living that is often lower than one salary could achieve a generation ago.”

The poll reveals that 62 per cent of Canadians think it’s a good idea to invest in ‘New Mom and New Dad benefits,’ which would make it affordable for all parents, including the self-employed, to spend up to 18 months at home with newborns – splitting the leave between moms and dads.

Sixty-six per cent of Canadians think it’s a good idea to ‘subsidize $10-a-day quality child care’ and 80 per cent of Canadians think it’s a good idea to invest in more flex-time, allowing parents more flexibility and time at home.

Recognizing that Canada is experiencing tough economic times, the poll shows that Canadians are willing to make hard choices to pay for these programs and services including revisiting sacred cows like medical care increases, or tax cuts.

When asked specifically about reallocating recent spending increases from medical care and investing it in family policy instead, only 37 per cent of Canadians responded that this was a ‘bad idea,’ compared to 42 per cent that thought it is a ‘good idea,’ and 21 per cent that were unsure.

More Canadians also think it is a ‘good idea’ than a ‘bad idea’ for all Canadians to contribute to new family policies through their income taxes, including a slim majority of Canadians under 45.

Kershaw noted that combined federal, provincial, and municipal revenue is down more than $90 billion as a share of our economy today compared to 1980, while over the same period, medical care spending is up $47 billion.

“When we choose to cut the total revenue pie by $90 billion, but increase the slice for by $47 billion, we leave $137 billion less for other priorities.  The generation raising young kids is definitely feeling this pinch, because it now means Canada has very weak family policy by international standards.”

Kershaw released this data on February 7 in Ottawa following an invited presentation to the Government of Canada Standing Committee on Health.

Explore further: Election surprises tend to erode trust in government

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Most Canadians unwilling to pay for news online: study

Apr 13, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Less than a month into The New York Times’ trial run in Canada of its campaign to charge for online content, a survey by University of British Columbia researchers suggests that the majority of Canadians ...

Recommended for you

Affirmative action elicits bias in pro-equality Caucasians

12 hours ago

New research from Simon Fraser University's Beedie School of Business indicates that bias towards the effects of affirmative action exists in not only people opposed to it, but also in those who strongly endorse equality.

Election surprises tend to erode trust in government

Jul 24, 2014

When asked who is going to win an election, people tend to predict their own candidate will come out on top. When that doesn't happen, according to a new study from the University of Georgia, these "surprised losers" often ...

Awarded a Pell Grant? Better double-check

Jul 23, 2014

(AP)—Potentially tens of thousands of students awarded a Pell Grant or other need-based federal aid for the coming school year could find it taken away because of a mistake in filling out the form.

User comments : 0