MP Belinda Stronach says policy recommendations in the Liberal party's Pink Book are designed to boost the economic strength of Canadian women. (CBC)

Access to day care and flexible maternity benefits are key parts of a new Liberal policyguide that focuses on the economic needs of Canadian women.

The Pink Book, released Monday by the federal Liberal women's caucus, will be part of the party's platform in the next election. Thebook is the first volume in a planned series.

"We wanted to get something out there immediately that focuses on the financial situation of women in this country," Belinda Stronach, chair of the women's caucus, told CBC News on Monday.

"Women are still greatly affected by poverty in this country," the MPfor the Ontario riding of Newmarket Aurora said, noting women only make 71 cents for every dollar earned by a man.

The Pink Book focuses on ways to improve women's economic security and economic empowerment, she said.

Itcalls for national child care and early learning programs, a system that would be on par with the one the Liberalssigned with the provinces beforethey were voted out of office inJanuary.

Deal quashed

That plan, whichwould have earmarked $5 billion over five years to create 250,000 child-care spaces, was signed by the provinces, but the Conservatives scrapped the deal when they took power.

The Tories decided to offer child-care cheques instead, giving parents $100 a month for every child under the age of six.

The Pink Book says a $5 billion-investment into a national child care system should be a minimum starting point. The book recommends that funding eventually reach one per cent of Canada's gross domestic product.

Other Pink Book recommendations include:

  • Broadening maternity benefits for the self-employed. Offering flexible maternity and parental benefits in general.
  • Implementing new pay-equity legislation.
  • Allowing seniors to earn about $1,400 extra without having their Guaranteed Income Supplement money clawed back.
  • Reversing 43-per-cent cuts to the operating budget of the Status of Women Canada, a federal agency that promotes gender equality.

The Pink Book wasmapped outin July, when current and former female Liberal MPs and senators met at a two-day retreat in Stronach's riding.

Future Pink Book volumes will focus on issues such as women of the North and women in rural communities, Stronach said.