Quebec hikes daycare fees according to family income

QUEBEC CITY — The Couillard government said Thursday that it’s time Quebec parents pay more for daycare.

Quebecers currently contribute 13 per cent to their children’s total daycare bill.

“What we are asking is reasonable compared to the true cost of that program,” Premier Philippe Couillard said.

READ MORE: Childcare costs highest in parts of B.C., Ontario, least in Quebec: study

The Premier and his Family Minister were introducing a new sliding scale fee structure, slated to come into effect in early January.

Families earning less than $50 000 a year will continue to pay $7.30.

Those earning $100 000 a year will see their daycare fees jump to $11 a day.

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READ MORE: Should universally subsidized daycare end in Quebec? The Liberals think so

At $125 000, it’ll be $15 a day, and those earning more than $150 000 will pay a maximum of $20.

What does it mean?

A family with a gross annual income of $100,000 will pay an extra $835 a year in daycare fees.

The Liberals have also decided on a flat $8 fee for daycare services in schools.

Furthermore, daycare fees will be indexed annually starting in 2016.

“There will be a web tool on the finance ministry and family ministry websites so that people can know exactly what it’s going to cost them, not now, but when they do their 2016 tax return for 2015,” the Premier added.

READ MORE: Quebec daycare fees could be raised according to parent income

The new fees rattled opposition parties, who accused the Liberals of breaking an election promise.

“Their promise was to index fees to the rate of inflation only,” said Parti Quebecois Family Critic Mathieu Traversy.

“They’re again taking money out of the pockets of middle-class Quebecers,” the CAQ Family Critic, Lise Lavallée, added.

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The Liberals argued they’re only doing what they’ve been elected to do, and daycare fees in Quebec remain the lowest in the country.

But considering how fast the Liberals’ popularity is dropping in the polls, the road to getting back to a balanced budget may be even rockier than they expected.