Lack of child care spaces: the Deputy Minister explains herself

The ineffectiveness of the La Place 0-5 waiting list to obtain a place in daycare stems in part from the too great autonomy of daycare services, according to the deputy minister of the Ministry of the Family Julie Blackburn.

“Each childcare service is responsible for its admissions policy,” Blackburn said at a parliamentary committee hearing in Parliament on Wednesday.

Ms. Blackburn was to answer questions from elected officials following the devastating report by Auditor General Guylaine Leclerc last October on La Place 0-5.

This report showed that in one year, 30,000 children had obtained a place in daycare without being registered in the register which is supposed to be the one-stop-shop for parents.

In her report, Ms. Leclerc pleaded that daycare centers had the obligation to recruit children at La Place 0-5. However, the deputy minister pleads that section 4 of the Child Day Care Act gives them the autonomy necessary to avoid them.

The government will have to change the law if it wants to change the game in this regard, she suggested.

The ministry has an “unwavering” desire to improve access to childcare services, argued Ms. Blackburn during this virtual session with elected officials. “We are working very hard,” she added.

Not enough CPE projects

Asked about the lack of subsidized places among those that are added, Ms. Blackburn had to admit that the ministry would have liked to receive more proposals to create new places in childcare centers in recent months.

Most of the new subsidized places are in “existing facilities” but the pandemic has delayed the projects of many childcare centers having had to manage the pandemic, she explained.

Despite the addition of time and administrative reductions, the number of childcare centers to submit projects was lower than expected, she continued.

Thus, out of the 20,000 requests for places submitted to the ministry in recent months, only 35% came from childcare centers. Even accepting almost all of them, only 59% of the few 9,000 places created were therefore subsidized.

Normally, each region should have 85% of subsidized places. However, in some of them, such as the Bas-Saint-Laurent, are far below this threshold at 71%.

More details will follow.

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