About 5,000 hit the street against daycare cuts

Rain didn't dampen a protest of about 5,000 people in downtown Montreal.
Rain didn't dampen a protest of about 5,000 people in downtown Montreal.

MONTREAL- About 5,000 protesters took to the streets Saturday morning in protest of cuts announced by the provincial government to subsidies received by private subsidized daycare.

The cuts amount to “$15 million, or $28,000 for each daycare,” said Sylvain Levesque, the president of the Private Daycare Association of Quebec. “We cannot absorb it.”

Subsidized private daycares in Quebec receive a subsidy from the province, but offer services at $7-per-day, which is the same price point as their public counterparts, or CPEs as they’re known in French. Advocates of subsidized daycares point out that a crucial difference lies in their business model. A subsidized private daycare still has to pay out taxes and cover overhead, unlike CPEs.

“They run at a deficit with the government,” said Louis Sanesteban, a father of two who sends his children to a subsidized daycare centre. “They want to cut us on our end. They’re driving us to an extreme.”

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Organizers have said they will hold a strike if the province doesn’t sit down and negotiate with them over the subsidy cuts. For the people who run daycares, the cut will mean a drop-off in services.

“Our daycare has 80 children, we’re going to be losing $28,000,” said Danielle Crevier, who runs a private daycare in Lachine. That “means the quality of care can go down for our children or our parents.”