After flirting with indexing $7-a-day daycare, partial PQ backtrack on cuts
MONTREAL—Could $7-a-day daycare be a thing of the past?
Worried by reports that the Parti Quebecois was looking to index the cost of daycares, Quebec's association of daycare operations has reached an agreement with the province.
Family Minister Nicole Leger has confirmed with CTV Montreal that the cost of daycares will not change during the PQ’s current mandate.
For now, Quebec's association of CPE’s, which represents not-for-profit subsidized daycares, is relieved that cuts won’t be as deep as initially announced.
“We're still facing $31-million in cuts, but in a manner that is less painful for everybody,” said Gina Gasparrini, representing Quebec’s CPEs.
In late March, the PQ announced $56-million in cuts to the province’s daycare system. The surprise announcement came only months after the government campaigned on a platform to massively increase the size of the province’s subsidized daycare system.
With this latest backtrack from the PQ, the cuts will be less painful because daycares will no longer see reductions in per-child funding for four-year-olds or an increase in the ratio of children per educator. Instead, the government will dip into the surplus generated by some CPEs.
“A formula has been put in place to make sure that the amount they take doesn't jeopardize the financial security of the organizations,” said Gasparrini.
However, Gasparrini says daycares will need to look at increasing revenues and hopes it won’t come at the expense of parents.
In March, Leger blamed the cuts on a $1.6 billion provincial deficit left by the outgoing Liberal government. Daycares she said, would have to “do their part” to help with government austerity measures.
Financing daycares though isn't the only hot topic. At a CSQ conference on early childhood education held Saturday, the focus was on how to bridge the gap between daycare and school.
“We've seen kids come in school with certain difficulties and if we had the time to go to the daycare, take time to see the children over there, once they're in school we would be able to get them the support they need,” said Melanie Renaud, advocating in-school daycare.
Gema Teran runs a subsidized home daycare and agrees more support is needed.
“If there is a difficult child with language or hearing than yes we might need the help,” said Teran.
The CSQ conference aimed at finding solutions to make sure the children's best interests are always taken care of.