The CAQ wants to convert non-funded daycare centers into funded daycare centers |  Quebec Elections 2022

The CAQ wants to convert non-funded daycare centers into funded daycare centers | Quebec Elections 2022

On Friday, Family Minister Mathieu Lacombe announced the end of unsubsidized private daycare.

The CAQ has committed to providing $1.4 billion over 5 years to convert all unsubsidized childcare places into subsidized places, which Secretary Lacombe said will help solve a problem that has existed for years.

Within five years, every toddler in Quebec will be able to get a subsidized place in a quality educational childcare service for $8.70. It also means fairness, well fairness, between all Quebec parents.

For 25 years we have been waiting for the completion of our network. It’s been 25 years since all parents had a daycare place for their child or had to pay $40, 50, if not $60, $65 a day per child, he argued.

Tens of thousands of children are still waiting for a subsidized kindergarten place, and the 37,000 places promised by the Legault government are slow to materialize.

88,000 places to come

Mathieu Lacombe said 32,000 of those places will be in process by the end of August and that the switch he announced is aimed at no fewer than 56,000 places in unsubsidised daycare centres. He is convinced that these two initiatives will make it possible to meet the strong demand that the public grid has never been able to meet.

If we want parents to be able to work despite labor shortages, if we want parents in particular to be able to cope with inflation, we must give them access to the $8.70 rate, he argued.

His ministry launched a first conversion project as early as August 2021 and a second one last June. We have already carried out the test as part of the mandate. We converted 3,500 places and I can tell you that overall it went well. We have learned from all of this.

Therefore, the owners of unsubsidized childcare services have a choice to become child care centers (CPE), which are non-profit organizations, or remain private for-profit corporations. Non-funded private day-care centers that wish to retain this status can also do so.

Mixed reactions

The director of the regroupement of the CPE Québec-Chaudière-Appalaches, Élise Paradis, says she is happy for the parents but worried. She fears that the quality of services offered in funded private day care centers is inferior to that of CPEs.

“We hope that the parties will go further and also offer us solutions to ensure that all services are of high quality. »

— A quote from Élise Paradis, Director of the Regroupement of the CPE Québec-Chaudière-Appalaches

People don’t always like hearing it, but the quality of CPEs is excellent, and parents prefer this type of service too, she adds.

If the CAQ is elected on October 3 and lives up to its promises, such a change would be welcomed by Ma place au travail, a movement dedicated to helping parents who have no place in a daycare center in Quebec.

In an inflationary context and rising cost of living, the conversion of places into a reduced contribution is good news for parents, explains Marylin Dion, spokesperson for the group.

Marylin Dion, spokeswoman for the Ma place au travail movement.

My Place at Work spokeswoman Marylin Dion is still looking for a childcare place for her nine-month-old daughter.

Photo: Radio Canada / Screenshot

We also wonder why it hasn’t been done in the past four years, she nuances.

The President of the Association of Unsubsidized Childcare Institutions (AGNSI), David Haddaoui, expressed his satisfaction with the announcement. He commends the CAQ for giving owners the choice to move to CPEs or stay in the private sector.

According to him, the majority of the members of his association would opt for the latter option.

Saying the notion that you’re relegated isn’t true, he says.

A very skeptical opposition

Although the Québec Solidaire Party (QS) advocates the conversion of unsubsidized day care centers, MP Sol Zanetti is not convinced of the CAQ’s commitment.

This announcement does not create new places, stresses Jean-Lesage District Assemblyman in Quebec.

Sol Zanetti believes the five-year deadline announced by the CAQ means many parents who currently do not have a place in daycare will not be able to find one by the time their child enters primary school.

“They don’t even promise to pass it before the end of the next semester. For me it’s laughing at the world. »

— A quote from Sol Zanetti, MP for Equestrian QS by Jean-Lesage.

On the Liberals, MP Marc Tanguay recalled that the CAQ had already promised all children a place in day care in the 2018 election, but the CAQ failed and abandoned the parents.

The waiting list has grown from 40,000 to 52,000, and in four years the CAQ has only managed to convert 1,767 places. How are they going to convert 67,000 in five years? asks the LaFontaine representative, who describes the announced commitment as a failure.

On the Parti Québécois (PQ) side, MP Méganne Perry Mélançon finds this commitment a bit surprising and unconvincing, while the CAQ has always planned to hold places in the unsubsidized private sector.

Although the PQ supports the proposed switch, Ms Perry Mélançon condemns the Minister’s intention to give daycare centers a choice of switching to CPE or staying private. For us, in the Parti Québécois, it has to go to one place and that is the CPE network, while the network is of course maintained in the family environment. What we want to prioritize is really 100% CPE conversion. All young families in Quebec, their first choice is the CPE.

Ministerial or election announcement?

Prime Minister François Legault promised last June that after July 1 there would be no more government announcements from him or his ministers. Such announcements are becoming more frequent, but Deputy Prime Minister Geneviève Guilbault, who made them alongside Minister Lacombe, defended herself against breaking that promise.

Geneviève Guilbault alongside Mathieu Lacombe, both from the CAQ.

The election campaign has not yet officially started in Quebec.

Photo: Radio Canada / Bruno Boutin

There has been no government announcement since July 1st. New funds were not announced. Today is an announcement, I would say, from the Coalition avenir Québec that is distinguishable from a government announcement, she said, pointing to similar actions by other political parties.

“The upcoming election campaign means that the parties are starting to reveal their intentions a little bit. »

— A quote from Geneviève Guilbault, Deputy Prime Minister

Despite everything, Friday’s announcement was presented as a firm intention in a future mandate, by the family minister in the title and not by the prime minister in an election campaign that has still not been triggered. It is far from certain that the public will make the same distinction between an election announcement and a government announcement as the deputy prime minister does.

With information from Canadian Press, Olivier Lemieux and Marie-Pier Mercier