Four-month-old Caleb was ready to head out with his mom to the Mothering Touch class on Tuesday.

But in the future, it may be more dads at the classes with their babies.  That’s great news for Tamara O’Reilly, mother of four-month-old Caleb.

“I think it would be really great. My partner had only four days off,” O’Reilly said.

The federal budget is a gender-specific budget. It includes $1.2 billion over five years and $344 million a year afterward for five weeks of paternity leave for fathers and non-birthing parents.

Chris Shaw is a father of two in Victoria and said the change is good news.

“I welcome this. Any initiative that will give more parental time with newborns, and the early stages, are I think, fabulous,” Shaw said.

The money includes; $2.6 billion over five years to encourage scientific innovation and gender equality,  $10 million over five years for the RCMP to review 25,000 cases of previously “unfounded” sex assault cases and $30 million over three years to promote women and girls in sport.  The Liberals also promise legislation on federal pay equity but with no price tag attached.

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the changes will add to the country’s bottom line.

“By taking steps to advance women’s equality, such as employing more women in technology, boosting women’s participation in the workforce, Canada could add about $150 billion to its economy by 2026,” Morneau said.

So far, B.C.’s Finance Minister Carole James likes what she sees in the federal budget.

“I was glad to see a number of priorities for British Columbia. The priorities from our budget reflected in the federal budget, uh, gender equality, they did mention housing, and the opioid crisis,” James said.

Back at the Mothering Touch, O’Reilly said the news of a five-week leave for fathers works for families. “So, if that’s built in already for new dads. Built in that time to kind of build, and grow their families, and become part of that, I think it would be very beneficial to all members of the family,” O’Reilly said.

Mary Griffin