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Quebec turns to Supreme Court to stop asylum seekers' access to subsidized daycare

Quebec Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette responds to reporters' questions prior to question period, at the Legislature in Quebec City, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024. Quebec is heading to the country's highest court to prevent children of asylum seekers from accessing the province's coveted subsidized daycare spaces. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Quebec Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette responds to reporters' questions prior to question period, at the Legislature in Quebec City, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024. Quebec is heading to the country's highest court to prevent children of asylum seekers from accessing the province's coveted subsidized daycare spaces. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
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Quebec is heading to the country's highest court to prevent children of asylum seekers from accessing the province's coveted subsidized daycare spaces.

Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette says the government will seek leave at the Supreme Court of Canada to appeal a Feb. 7 decision that found the province's daycare rules are discriminatory.

The Quebec Court of Appeal ruled that asylum seekers who hold a valid work permit are entitled to register their children in Quebec's public daycares.

The case originated with a woman from the Democratic Republic of Congo who had a work permit but whose three children were denied spaces in the heavily subsidized daycare system, where spaces cost roughly $9 a day as of Jan. 1.

Her children were denied because Quebec's rules provide access to the public network only once refugee status has been granted by Ottawa.

Quebec's decision to appeal comes as the government demands $1 billion from Ottawa for the cost of settling the influx of asylum seekers, who the province says are putting unsustainable pressure on social services.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 21, 2024.

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