Skip to main content

Quebec-funded initiative aims to improve qualification and reduce staff shortage in daycare facilities

Daycare image

Sponsored by:
In response to the pressing post-pandemic labour shortage in Quebec’s early childhood care and education sector, the province is offering a solution to fast-track certification and qualification for uncertified daycare staff with an initiative known as RAC96.

RAC96 contributes to establishing favourable conditions for the accomplishment of a recognition of acquired competencies (RAC) process in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECE) for an experienced employee of an ECS. It aims to recognize prior learning and skills of experienced, uncertified daycare workers currently employed in Quebec’s public daycares and subsidized and non-subsidized private daycare centres.

"The CSMO-ESAC supports the social economy, so the initial project was planned for public daycares. However, we have also turned to private daycares recognized by the Ministry of Families to help the greatest number of people in the childcare environment," said Julie Frappier, director of the RAC96 program at CSMO-ÉSAC. 

The objective, she described, is to create conditions conducive to the successful recognition of acquired competencies (RAC) in the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECE) sector for experienced ECS employees.

Through RAC96, experienced but uncertified workers have a unique opportunity to obtain an Attestation of College Studies (AEC), recognized by the Ministry of Education and by the Ministry of Higher Education and offered in one of the 37 participating CEGEPs across Quebec.

With the support of RAC96, daycare operators will benefit by improving the overall quality of care their centre provides and augmenting the possibility of staff retention in the long term.

For current daycare employees with no formal training, certification of their skills and prior knowledge, coupled with the on-job experience, means their eventual qualification is officially recognized across the province and entitles them to the same salary and benefits as their colleagues with a Diploma of College Studies (DEC).

For now, the ratio of qualified educators is one-to-two. Daycare operators who don’t respect that exigence can face stiff fines and penalties.

For all of these reasons, the opportunity to have current employees certified through a flexible program such as the RAC96 is very attractive, Frappier reasoned.

"The contribution takes the form of financial support to the employer so that he or she can offer paid time, ideally during regular working hours, to his or her employees who are in the process of RAC in ECE," Frappier explained. 

Rather than do it at night or on the weekend when they’re busy with their own family, she said, the employer can opt to give their staff time off to work on their certification during the workweek.

Or if an employee wants to pursue the certification outside working hours, the employer can elect to pay for that time as supplementary hours.

The first 96 hours of the certification process are funded by RAC96. After completing the assessment of their prior learning and skills in early childhood education, the uncertified educator is considered certified.

And when a certified educator has completed a total of 4,992 hours of work, they are then considered qualified.

Daycare operators interested in participating first register their daycare on the RAC96 web portal and invite their employees to attend an information session for a detailed explanation of the program.

Following this, candidacy requests are sent to the appropriate CEGEP for assessment. Typically, being 18 years old and having nearly two years of childcare work experience is the eligibility standard.

Frappier believes the RAC96 solution is a win both for the early childhood education sector and the communities and families its centres serve.

"The employer benefits tremendously from having well-qualified people who have all had formal training and have been properly evaluated," she said.

"The RAC96 initiative really improves the quality of the daycare center. Of course, uncertified staff can be fantastic, but making sure people are both certified and qualified helps ensure shared knowledge based on academic standards and training." 

For more information, visit:

- With financial assistance provided by Gouvernement du Québec Top Stories

Here is Canada's unseasonably mild December forecast

December is predicted to be unseasonably mild across Canada, thanks to a "moderate-to-strong" El Nino and human-caused warming. Warming and precipitation trends will be stronger in some parts of the country than others, and severe weather is still possible, meteorologists say.

Stay Connected