NFU/UNF in NB Farmers Push for Childcare Subsidies

NFU/UNF in NB Farmers Push for Childcare Subsidies

Listen here to Eva Rehak’s interview on “McLean in the Morning

The National Farmers Union in New Brunswick is asking the provincial government to extend daycare subsidies to farmers.  The farmers’ organization calls the rule of not allowing self-employed business partners to qualify for daycare subsidies a discriminatory policy.

Eva Rehak said the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s rules puts her family at an unfair disadvantage.  Rehak, a mother of two young girls, with another baby on the way, said increasing her farm’s yield would be much easier if she could afford daycare.  Rehak said daycare for her children is too expensive and she has been twice denied a provincial childcare subsidy.  “It was still the same issue because I was self-employed and in a partnership I was not eligible,” she said.

She said juggling childcare and helping on the farm is not easy.  “Right now I’m split in between watching the kids and since the younger one still takes naps, so then I can still help out for you know a good half hour, hour stretch, but those are my stretches,” she said.

The Department of Education and early Childhood Development declined a request for an interview on the group’s request.  Rehak said many small farms are co-owned by couples and she knows of other farming families who have been denied a childcare subsidy for the  Rehak and her common-law husband, Alain Rouselle, co-own their farm.  They are involved with the farmers union, which is now lobbying provincial government to make daycare assistance available to all low-income families.

Rousselle said assistance that is available to many low-income families should not be refused to farmers.  “The way the policy is made right now I think it either discourages people from farming or discourages people from having children,” he said.  “So, I think, that’s one good reason why I think the policy should change.”

Source: CBC, July 3, 2013


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