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Cost of subsidized daycare to rise to $9 a day by 2015. Workers’ group ‘profoundly shocked’ by increase

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Author: 
Muise, Monique
Publication Date: 
26 Feb 2014

EXCERPTS

Parents will soon be paying more for a coveted spot in Quebec's subsidized daycare program.

In the latest provincial budget, tabled Thursday afternoon in Quebec City, the Parti Québécois government confirmed it will increase the rate to $8 a day per child as of Sept. 1, with another increase (to $9 a day) planned for Sept. 1, 2015. The rate will thereafter be indexed based on the annual change in personal disposable income, meaning it would increase again to $9.20 per day - or more - as of Sept. 1, 2016.

Quebec's subsidized daycare program is the envy of many jurisdictions, but has encountered its share of problems since launching in 1997. There are lengthy waiting lists for a spot, with many expectant parents getting in line as soon as a pregnancy is confirmed. The number of spaces in the system currently stands at 220,000, but that number is expected to increase to 250,000 by the time the network is completed in December 2016.

Finance Minister Nicolas Marceau said he is not concerned about pushback in the wake of the planned fee increases, even though the PQ had promised not to raise the rate of $7 a day during its current mandate.

The increase "stabilizes the financing of daycares," Marceau said Thursday. "It will serve to complete the network."

The finance minister also pointed out that early on, parents were responsible for 20 per cent of the daily cost of taking care of their children through the program. That percentage has actually fallen in recent years, he explained, and the government is now "coming back up to 16 per cent."

"I think it's reasonable," Marceau said.

....

Louise Chabot, president of the Centrale des syndicats du Québec - which represents daycare workers in the province - said her organization was "profoundly shocked" by Thursday's announcement.

"For us, it's unacceptable to ask for a (fee) increase of 30 per cent, because that's what this represents ... which will bring just a few hundred million dollars for the government," Chabot said. "For a family with two children, it's another $1,000 a year."

....

- reprinted from the Montreal Gazette

 

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Entered Date: 
26 Feb 2014
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