Our View: Not all will get $40 strike fund

 

The provincial government has rolled out its $40 per day program for children aged 12 and under. Parents of children from kindergarten up to around the end of elementary school can start applying for the funds – though of course the money won’t show up until after the strike is over.

If the government actually gave out that much to every parent of a public school child, it would cost about $12 million a day, or most of the cost of running the education system.

Of course, Finance Minister Mike de Jong is canny enough to know that he won’t be digging into the public coffers for quite that much.

Some parents are not going to collect the money. The bulk of it will go to those parents in the middling middle class – your typical household in which both parents work and their 1.5 kids could always use more cash for hockey equipment, dance lessons, college fund top-ups, and maybe daycare.

On the top end, there are parents who make enough money that going through the hassle of the government registration process just isn’t worth it. There are also parents who owe back taxes or other fines – the government will confiscate your share of the Parent Support fund if you’re behind.

Worst, though, is the fact that some people are going to slip through the cracks at the bottom of the economic ladder.

There are a lot of parents in this province who are doing everything they can to provide for their kids, and still barely scraping by. Some parents work two or three jobs. Some are recent immigrants with limited English literacy. Some are single parents. Some are all of the above.

For those parents, the extra money would no doubt come in handy. But navigating the bureaucracy will be tough. We’ll be very interested to see what this program costs the government.

– M.C.

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