VANCOUVER -- NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says a New Democrat government would allow new parents to condense their employment insurance benefits so they can take shorter parental leaves while still receiving the full benefit.

Speaking at a cafe in Vancouver where he met with young families this morning, Singh said parental-leave benefits need to be more flexible for parents who don't work typical 9-to-5 jobs.

He says allowing new parents to condense their parental leaves would give flexibility to families that can't afford to live on 33 per cent of their salaries for a full 18-month leave period.

Many Canadians work precarious jobs with unsteady hours, so the NDP is also proposing a universal qualifying threshold of 360 hours for coverage.

It was the NDP campaign's eighth straight day in British Columbia, where Singh has made several regionally focused announcements.

The meet and greet came the day after Singh said an NDP government would spend $10 billion over the next four years to create 500,000 new child-care spaces in Canada with the goal of offering free services for some parents.

Singh said prices would be capped at $10 a day and build on a similar program in Quebec as well as a pilot project that started last year in British Columbia.

He said the goal is to get to universality, which would mean no cost for families that can't afford it and low cost for those who can.