As PQ looks to deliver 30,000 new subsidized daycare spots, private options feel snubbed
Published Thursday, February 7, 2013 6:43PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 7, 2013 7:26PM EST
MONTREAL—The Parti Quebecois plans to make good on election promises to create 30,000 more subsidized daycare spots across the province, with the first new openings planned for next year.
The new spaces are a combination of old Liberal promises and new spots financed by the PQ plan. Taking a shot at the Jean Charest Liberals, the PQ said Thursday that the previous government didn’t do enough to provide daycare, leading to increasingly desperate parents.
“Parents are looking for places for their babies and they didn't know where to go, meaning that the woman in a relationship isn’t able to go back to her job,” said Labour Minister Agnes Maltais.
Starting next weeks, people who want to apply for a license to build and operate new daycares will have four months to apply. The government says it has made the process easier.
Even in a budget crunch, the government says daycares aren’t a place they will cut.
“This is the kind of thing that helps women participate in society. That’s a choice. We must invest in it. It's a winner for society,” said Maltais, who added that private daycares don’t need the government's help.
“We don't want to transform places from private to subsidized, we want to add new daycare places, that's the point.”
A group of public daycares says there are lots of projects in the pipeline.
“Many daycares have room that is available and they can open new spaces rapidly,” said Helene Goselin, speaking for Quebec’s daycare association.
However, private daycares say they currently have 10,000 empty spots that could be subsidized by the government.
“We are just as professional as public daycares, but we aren’t partners with the government,” said Marie-Claude Collin, from the Coalition of Private Non-subsidized Daycares.
Currently, many parents can't afford to pay for private spots even with the promise of a $35 a day tax credit. Parents say they can’t afford to wait a year for the refund.
“In Blainville, five private daycares are right next to each other and they’re half empty,” said Collin.
Quebec Premier Pauline Marois plays with children at a daycare, Monday, November 12, 2012 in Montreal. Marois announced new places in daycare. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson