Quebec daycare workers rally against sliding-scale fee model

MONTREAL — Marisol Nolasco brings her one and a half year old to the Carajou CPE every morrning. At just 18, she said it’s a relief to have found a place she can trust with her daughter while she finishes high school.

“You can see how much they care and it’s something I don’t think you’ll find anywhere else,” she said, explaining her daughter loves the CPE so much, she sometimes refuses to leave.

On Friday, Nolasco stood by daycare workers calling for families to come support them in the protest that is being held this Sunday.

READ MOREShould universally subsidized daycare end in Quebec? The Liberals think so

The government is thinking of putting an end to universal daycare coverage, and replacing it with a sliding scale model; the larger the family income, the more those families would have to pay. Daycare workers say that’s alarming.

Story continues below advertisement

“The government likes to say we’ll let the rich pay,” said Gina Gasparrini, president of the Quebec Association of CPEs, “but the issue is we don’t know who they mean and there aren’t enough people in high income brackets so the bulk of the bill will go to the middle class.”

READ MORENDP proposes national $15-a-day child-care program

Gasparrini is worried the proposed changes may force the likes of Marisol to have to give up on some of their plans.

“If childcare becomes too expensive,” she said, “we’re gonna go back to the way things were 25 years ago– ‘do I pursue my career or do I stay home?'”

WATCH: Gina Gasparrini speaks about the effects of daycare cost increases

Worker representatives said the current daycare system is profitable for the government, and so don’t understand why their funding is being cut.

Story continues below advertisement

“The childcare program is the only government-subsidized program that generates more revenues than it costs,” said Gasparrini.

The government said it hasn’t made a final decision yet, but that the financial situation is dire.

WATCH: Montrealers react to proposed sliding-scale daycare fees

“We are are looking at everything we have right now to make sure that what we have, we can keep,” said Family Minister Francine Charbonneau on Tuesday. “Because the state that we are in right now, we cannot keep.”

Parents currently pay just 15 per cent of the total daycare bill, but Marisol said affordable daycare is what has helped her turn her life around.

“It allows me to go to school, to finish my studies, and give myself the chance of a better future,” she said.

Story continues below advertisement

The rally is scheduled to take place at the Place des Festivals in Montreal at 10:15 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 9.

A petition against the sliding-scale fee structure can be found here.