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Quebec Premier François Legault commits to adding 37,000 daycare spots by 2025

Click to play video: 'Quebec promises to add 37,000 daycare spots by 2025' Quebec promises to add 37,000 daycare spots by 2025
WATCH: Quebec has unveiled a $3 billion plant to fix the province’s daycare crisis. It says it will create enough daycare spaces for all children to have a spot by 2025. But as Global’s Raquel Fletcher reports, it won’t be an easy task. – Oct 21, 2021

Quebec Premier François Legault committed to adding 37,000 more subsidized daycare spots in the province by 2025, promising that any family that needs a place will be able to get one.

Legault’s government on Thursday tabled a bill and an action plan aimed at meeting the province’s child-care needs. The plan will get off the ground “as soon as possible,” he said in Quebec City.

Quebec’s child-care network is under increasing strain, with an all-time high of more than 50,000 names on its waiting list and a shortfall of educators that the Family Department estimates at 17,800 workers.

Read more: Quebec Liberal leader outlines priorities for fall session with proposed $1.2B daycare plan

The plan is estimated to cost about $3 billion. However, the creation of about half of the 37,000 spots has previously been announced. New spending for the additional places announced Thursday is estimated at $1.8 billion.

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About a thousand of the spaces will be created specifically for Indigenous children.

The province’s long-awaited action plan contains 45 measures, including an increase of the current tax credit for child-care expenses.

The bill also creates an obligation for the province to take steps to create new subsidized daycare spaces when the demand exceeds the supply in a given region — something Families Minister Mathieu Lacombe said would help end the “interminable” wait for spots.

Click to play video: 'Daycare educators receive significant raise amid rotating strikes and negotiations' Daycare educators receive significant raise amid rotating strikes and negotiations
Daycare educators receive significant raise amid rotating strikes and negotiations – Oct 14, 2021

The province also wants to increase the maximum number of children daycares can accept, authorize temporary sites and change some non-subsidized spots to subsidized ones.

The province will also make changes to the registration system to give priority to children living in disadvantaged areas and address concerns by parents who say it doesn’t provide an estimated wait time or tell them where they stand on the list.

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To address the shortage of workers, the government will allow future educators to alternate work in daycares with their studies, to allow them to qualify “gradually.”

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

Members of the opposition Parti Québécois and Québec solidaire parties called on the government to raise salaries for educators, saying little would change without higher pay.

“There won’t be any miracles without catching up with wages,” said Québec solidaire’s Christine Labrie.

A Quebec association representing daycares welcomed the announcement, saying it was long-needed. But executive director Geneviève Belisle said the province’s greatest challenge was likely going to be recruiting enough qualified staff.

 

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