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Quebec to convert 3,500 private daycare spots into subsidized ones by 2022

In this file photo, children put up their hands for ice cream at a daycare centre  in Montreal.
In this file photo, children put up their hands for ice cream at a daycare centre in Montreal. Ian Barrett/The Canadian Press

The province is making access to child care more affordable in certain areas.

Quebec’s Minister of Families Mathieu Lacombe announced on Friday the government will be converting 3,500 private daycare spots into subsidized ones.

The money will be granted to daycares in areas where there is a lack of subsidized spots.

In Montreal, that includes Pierrefonds, Côte-des-Neiges and Saint-Leonard.

“We targeted areas where the number of subsidized daycare spots was under the province’s average, which sits at 76 per cent,” said Lacombe at a press conference.

Read more: Quebec announces 2500 new day care spaces

The spots will be converted over the next two years in two phases.

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The first 1,750 spots will be converted in the fall of 2021, the second phase will see another 1,750 spots converted by the fall of 2022, according to Lacombe.

Only daycares holding a permit for more than five years can apply.

“It’s a win for parents but as I said, it’s also a win for children who will have access to support in daycares that are already, for the most part, of excellent quality … private, non-subsidized daycares that we will equip with tools in order to better help children with special needs,” Lacombe said.

Read more: Quebec provides coronavirus guidelines for reopened daycares and schools

The Quebec Association of Daycares (AQCPE) welcomes the news but says it’s not enough to cover Quebecers’ needs.

The association’s spokesperson Marie-Claude Lemieux said that instead of subsidizing spots, the government should go further and convert for-profit daycares into publicly-funded ones.

Read more: Liberals promise free daycare for 4-year-old children in Quebec

“The AQCPE thinks that the opening that the Minister showed today in converting for-profit daycare in CPE should have guided him for this first pilot. For years, we have been asking the government to pursue the completion of one network of publicly-funded, high-quality, affordable, early childhood education centers,” Lemieux wrote in a statement to Global News.

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“The CPE is the only network capable of welcoming all children, including those who are vulnerable or with special needs.”

A government-subsidized daycare spot starts at $8.35 a day compared to a private spot, which ranges between $30-$60 a day.

Interested daycares have until Jan. 15, 2021 to apply.

Click to play video 'Focus Montreal: Quebec subsidized daycares, a model to emulate?' Focus Montreal: Quebec subsidized daycares, a model to emulate?
Focus Montreal: Quebec subsidized daycares, a model to emulate? – Apr 22, 2018