Daycare operators fighting mad over $56M in budget cuts
Daycare operators say they feel betrayed by the Parti Quebecois over its decision to cut $56 million from daycare budgets.
Operators say they’re unhappy because Premier Pauline Marois has often called herself the woman who created subsidized $7-a-day daycare in Quebec, and she's often been critical of the previous government when they had planned to touch daycare.
They now say the godmother of subsidized daycare is the one who's killing it.
“Just the cuts to the way they're subsidizing our four-year-olds is going to cost me $60,000 a year,” said Gina Gasparrini, who runs two public daycares and is the spokesperson for the Quebec Association of Daycares
Part of the $56 million in cuts will come from the government taking away operating subsidies for four year olds. Currently $32 dollars a day per child, they'll be cut to $25.
The rest of the cuts will come from taking away part of daycares surpluses, like slush funds used for things like building repairs.
“In total, public daycares have $220 million. We're taking a small portion of that,” said Family Minister Nicole Léger, who said she has no choice but to make the cuts because the PQ inherited a large deficit from the previous Liberal government.
Gasparrini said she has no idea where she’ll find the money to make up for the lost subsidies.
“We cannot cut back on staff because we have to respect ratios. Next comes food. We can't cut back on that because we have to feed the children,” she said.
During the election, Marois promised to create 28,000 new daycare spaces.
Leger said they're still committed to that, as well as to maintaining $7-a-day daycare – at least for this mandate -- but are asking daycares to make their dollars go further
The cuts come into effect on July 1.
Daycare operators are promising to protest the cuts.