Newfoundland & Labrador has the second lowest birth rate in the country, and the fastest aging population. We need new Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, stat, but in order to have these kids, parents need to be able to afford raising them.

Between diapers and daycare, many young families go broke, too broke to buy a house, lay down roots, contribute to the economy. The cost of raising a child is being touted as the main reason fewer couples are starting families now.

“All over Newfoundland and Labrador, young people are making the difficult choice to delay having children because they just can’t afford to start a family,” says NDP Leader, Earle McCurdy. “Our commitment will help all families to raise their children and help them save towards a home where they can put down their roots.”

The “commitment” he is referring to, is the NDP’s intention to give a boost to parental leave benefits in the province. Right now, new parents receive a Parental Support Benefit at $100/month from the provincial government.

But the NDP is vowing to replace that with a Benefit that’ll amount to $1,000/month for new parents, if elected. They’d replace the existing parental benefit with an “EI top-up that is equivalent to 80% of income replacement.” (EI benefits for parental leave are capped at 55% of the equivalent salary of $49,500 annually.)

The cost of it would be $23 million a year.

“A parent earning $48,000, with a gross monthly income of $4,000, currently receives about $2,200 in EI benefits and $100 from the provincial government. Under an NDP government, that same parent would still receive $2,200 in EI benefits, but also $1,000 from the provincial government – that is an extra $1,000 a month in the pockets of new parents.”