MONTREAL — Universally subsidized daycare in Quebec may soon be coming to an end.
According to a report published in the French newspaper, Le Devoir, the provincial government is considering ending universally subsidized child care as of April 2015.
Parents currently pay $7.30 a day for child care, which was raised from $7 on October 1.
According to a “fact sheet” created for the members of cabinet, fees for sending a child to a CPE or home-based daycare could soon range from $8 to $20 per day, based on family income.
The government is apparently proposing that the sliding scale fee structure could look like this:
|Family income||Daily daycare sliding scale fees|
|Less than $75,000||$8|
|$75,000 – $100,000||$8 – $12|
|$100,000 – $150,000||$12 – $15|
|$150,000 – $200,000||$15 – $20|
A CPE in Montreal posted it’s disappointment on its Facebook page, calling the decision “sad, discouraging, frustrating,” and asking “can we let them destroy in a few months what society has taken years to build?”
On Tuesday, Family Minister Francine Charbonneau was on the fence about the proposals.
“We never said they wouldn’t, we never said they would,” she said.
“What we say is that we’re looking at everything to make sure that what we have right now we can keep because the state we’re in right now we cannot keep.”
In September, Quebec’s daycare unions came out against a proposed sliding scale fee structure, saying that it was the worst possible idea.
Quebec’s President of the Treasury Board, Martin Coiteux said that no decision has been made.
“The reality is that the government is analyzing several scenarios,” he said. “We haven’t taken any decision yet, we’re still in that process and once we have taken our decisions, we will communicate and explain why we did so.”
Gina Gasparrini of the Association québécoise des centres de la petite enfance (AQCPE), which represents 700 public daycares in the province, called a sliding scale fee structure a “real tragedy.”
“It’s what distinguishes us from all the other child-care systems around the world.”
CSN president Jacques Létourneau also noted that raising fees would have a significant impact.
“More women may choose to stay home.”
At the time it was launched, proponents of universally subsidized daycare hoped that it would not only transform child development but also improve women’s job prospects and help build a stronger labour force.
A working paper published in May 2012 by the Université de Sherbrooke found that universal access to low-fee child care in Quebec encouraged “nearly 70,000 more mothers to hold jobs than if no such program had existed — an increase of 3.8 per cent in women employment.”
It also noted that by 2011, the labour force participation rate of women aged 15–64 in Quebec increased from 63 per cent in 1996 to 75 per cent in 2011, faster than the national average, and led to a $5.1 billion increase in provincial domestic income (GDP) in 2008.
“Quebec’s low-fee child-care program has been financially “profitable” for the two levels of government.”
A petition against the sliding scale fee structure can be found here.
© 2014 Shaw Media