---Private, non-subsidized daycares protest for better conditions
On June 9, more than 250 private daycare facilities from l’Association québécoise des garderies privées non subventionnées (AQGPNS) led a one-day work stoppage to express disapproval towards the provincial government’s lack of support for private daycare facilities. According to a press release issued by the AQGPNS on June 5, the measure was acted upon because the Quebec Minister of Families Mathieu Lacombe isn’t adequately responding to parents’ needs during a time of crisis by not subsidizing private daycares that could help meet the current demand, with a shortage of more than 51,000 subsidized spots in the province. The association added that there are presently more than 30,000 unoccupied spots in non-subsidized daycares. According to the AQGPNS’ President Khalid Daher, systemic injustices towards the province’s private daycare network began around 2008, noting that the government has provided significantly more financing to early childcare centres (CPEs) than to private daycares. “The government does not want to listen to us,” Daher said.
Believing that the government’s ignorance on the matter is no accident, Daher believes Lacombe knows his lack of support towards private daycares is causing their level of representation to dissipate. Among its list of demands, the association is hoping for the government to instill more equity for both private and publicly-funded daycares, stating that thousands of families in the province have suffered from the system’s unfairness since its conception.
Clarifying that the system has created two types of taxpayers - those who benefit from them and those who don’t - the association believes parents should be allowed to pay the same rate for daycare services at subsidized and non-subsidized facilities and choose where to send their child to daycare. Adding that the provincial government needs to speed up the process of creating new CPEs and subsidized facilities, the AQGPNS said the province needs to convert more private daycares into subsidized ones as soon as possible, to provide parents with personalized support for their children, and to support non-subsidized daycares in the same way that CPEs have been assisted during the pandemic. The AQGPNS also believes the government should dissolve the Place 0-5 ans program, and allow parents to represent themselves on the Ministry of Families’ advisory committees. Stating that the provincial government allocates around 85 per cent of available spaces to publicly-funded CPEs, the association says it needs to leave tendering processes for subsidized facilities equally accessible to all daycares.
Protesting with her employees with colourful signs in front of their facility in Deschênes, Garderie Aurora’s Director Li Ke Mo told the Aylmer Bulletin it’s important to raise awareness about the injustices that private daycares are facing. She believes parents are being the most penalized by the system, stating that they don’t have a choice where to send their child to daycare no matter what their revenue is.
Located on 82 chemin Vanier, Aurora has around 15 part-time and full-time child educators monitoring 80 kids. Long desiring to get the daycare publicly-subsidized, Mo said the government hasn’t provided any support. “We would love to be subsidized,” Mo said, stating that she anticipates waiting at least another decade before receiving government support.
Since Aurora is only four years old, she said the daycare is ineligible to request government support since its support system only benefits facilities that have been around for at least five years, adding that the tendering processes are slow with very strict and ever-changing criteria. Mo said she is unable to pay her employees full salaries, due to the high costs of running the facility without any financial support. Childcare services at Aurora cost parents between $45 and $50 per child per day, while the same services at CPE’s and subsidized facilities cost $8.35 per child per day. “There is an important difference,” Mo said.