Childcare Builds a Strong Economy
Growing up on a grain and cattle farm in Southern Alberta, I remember having my mom as a stay-at-home mom for myself and my three brothers. She was there to wake up the family, make breakfast, send us to school or care for us throughout the day, prepare supper (a prairie term for dinner), and finally, tuck us into bed at night. Besides being a stay-at-home mom, she also worked on the farm and occasionally did some TOCing, previously known as a substitute teacher.
Back in the 60s and 70s, stay-at-home moms were the norm, or at least that felt like the norm in my small-town hometown of Pincher Creek. Many mothers stayed home to raise their children, maintain the house, make fresh meals, and work on the farm. My wife and I were very fortunate to raise our three children in a similar environment. I spent countless hours—and still do—to help clients with their real estate needs much like my dad did on the farm, while my wife, Jolene, took care of our children’s daily needs and all things household to keep everyone happy and satisfied.
This relationship of sharing responsibilities and workload worked very well for my parents and it has served Jolene and I well, too. Through this dynamic, our family has been able to experience family, social, and financial success. Since this was my own personal experience as a child and on the other side as a father, I held the opinion that social daycare programs were important, but not essential; however, my opinion changed when I heard economist Armine Yalnizyan share her thoughts on the link between childcare and the economy.
With the economic fallout from COVID, millions of Canadians have lost their jobs, with Canadian women feeling the biggest brunt of the COVID layoffs. Women in Canada typically contribute to 40% of the monthly household income. Yalnizyan shared that until these Canadian women are back in the workforce, there cannot be a full economic recovery. Yalnizyan even dubbed the recovery as “she-covery.”
Childcare is the key to making this happen. Between the Federal and Provincial governments, they have promised and ensured that they are committed to a better universal childcare system in Canada. However, the programs have created, at best, an okay early learning or childcare program. The benefits of universal childcare programs are well documented and written about, and it is clear that childcare is a crucial part of the socio-economic fabric of any country.
The need for childcare is even more apparent with COVID. Without childcare, workers—men and women alike—cannot find their way back to jobs, whether it is their previous job or a new job. Jobs are vital as they help keep Canadians healthy and safe, and they help to provide food on the table. A strong universal childcare program is one of the means to getting our post-COVID economy back on its feet.
COVID has been a huge economic, social, and physiological disruptor to the entire world; however, when unexpected crash and burn events happen, creativity, new ideas, and new approaches rise up from the ashes out of these tough situations. My hope is that COVID can be the catalyst to shape a new Canadian childcare approach, thus resulting in our economy getting back to where it once was.
Yalnizyan has helped to change my perspective on the way that I view childcare and universal childcare. I now see childcare is an economic driver. It is paramount for a financially strong economy, community, workforce, real estate market, and market rents. When investing in real estate, a few of the conditions that help drive investments are: GDP, job growth, supply of industrial land, transit, school catchment, rental vacancy rates, and now, accessible childcare facilities and programs. If childcare is the socio-economic fabric to a country, how would you feel if the government were to collaborate with developers by paying developers to create childcare facilities in new developments? I would love to hear your thoughts!
The sales volume and STR (Sell Through Rate) numbers for Vancouver and Fraser Valley markets since May have been incredibly strong. Low interest rates, low inventory, and a desire to live and work in new spaces is driving the market. The rental market is also experiencing stronger and higher rents in the Fraser Valley. Not only are homeowners looking for more wide-open COVID space and better “remote” working space, tenants are too. The remote working opportunities coupled with much lower rents for bigger and better space is a big draw for the rental market.
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STR (Sell Through Rate) Formula = Sales ÷ Active Listings + Failed Listings + Sales
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