Daycares: united plea for conversions, Minister Lacombe impassive

The Minister of Families has been accused by his political opponents of missing a critical window to file conversions of non-subsidized private daycare centers into the subsidized network, a proposal provided for his Large project for families .

Liberals, PQ and Solidarity see this as an obvious solution to quickly restore justice between parents, some of whom pay up to $ 65 a day for a place in unsubsidized daycare.

Despite the pressures in recent months, Mathieu Lacombe has not wavered: we will have to wait for the completion of the pilot project, launched in the fall of 2020, before considering expanding the conversion.

Minister Mathieu Lacombe refused to commit to an extended conversion before the pilot project was completed.

Photo: The Canadian Press / Jacques Boissinot

And there are still steps to be taken.

The projects selected for the second phase of the project aimed at converting a total of 3,500 areas, or 5% of the non-subsidized network, have not been announced until next June. The final report will not be completed until all areas allocated under the pilot project have been converted.

The minister in turn promised an extended conversion plan and a timetable between now and the elections next fall. He intends to launch a project in collaboration with associations of non-subsidized daycare centers to establish the standard of conversion, in particular.

No concrete has been announced yet and no budget has yet been allocated for conversions.

Strong demand

Meanwhile, demand is more than supply.

According to data from the Ministère de la Famille, the government received 269 files across Quebec in the first phase of the pilot project. This represents a potential of more than 15,000 places to be converted at a single rate of $ 8.70.

In number, only 25 were selected for a total of 1767 places. That is, 244 projects and 13,856 areas were rejected.

For the second phase, 238 non-subsidized establishments applied before the November deadline, while 1,733 places were available.

This demand arose despite the fact that eligibility criteria immediately disqualified some daycare. Any establishment less than five years old, for example, does not have access to conversion under the pilot project.

Cards showing week names with a pin in a thread.

Non-subsidized daycare centers in the facilities are subject to the same requirements as CPEs and apply the educational program of the Ministère de la Famille.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Josée Ducharme


Non-subsidized private daycares have reached 68,000 areas under the permit as of December 31, 2021. They are recognized by the Ministère de la Famille and must meet the same legal requirements as subsidized daycares or CPE.

In this context, Jennifer Maccarone, Liberal Critic for Families, finds it difficult to understand the government’s reluctance to convert faster. If Quebec City’s goal is to guarantee a place at $ 8.70 to all Quebec parents, it only makes sense to strive toward conversionhe said in an interview with Radio-Canada.

According to the echoes he gets, the situation is really critical to the pitch. Some daycares, he says, are struggling to break down. Many places the ministry has allowed vacancies – about 19,000 places in total in Quebec – because parents can’t pay the bill, according to Ms. Maccarone, or due to lack of staff. [Les garderies] raise their hands, they say “help”.

This is a waste. There are facilities that, there are already toddlers, already teaching. kalokohan naman. It’s a decision that should be easy, but it’s certainly not like cutting the ribbon [d’un nouveau CPE]. »

A quote from Jennifer Maccarone, Liberal MP for Westmount – Saint-Louis

According to the Member for Westmount – Saint-Louis, held by Minister Lacombe conflicting discourse.

On the one hand, he says, he wants to offer universal access to all Quebecers in a subsidized area by 2025, but on the other hand he refuses to embed conversion parameters in Bill 1, which was adopted recently by the government.

Ms. added. Maccarone that in addition to not moving faster in conversions, the Minister has failed in his goals for creating new areas in funded child care and CPE. Mr Lacombe acknowledged the backlog this week and vowed to create 10,000 new venues this year to reach his targets.

The Liberal MP no longer dares to believe it and is waiting to see the results. He is a good communicator but he does not deliver goods. At the National Assembly on Wednesday, Mathieu Lacombe reiterated that he inherited a network weakened by the Liberals, who favored the construction of private daycare centers at the expense of CPE.

The minister said he was in the process of rectifying the situation and reiterated that his government was doing more than its predecessors, especially the Liberals.


Québec solidaire and the Parti Québécois, each in their own way, are asking Mathieu Lacombe to create a fast track to the conversion of unsubsidized daycare centers that are already raising their hands to do so. Both parties are campaigning for conversions to CPEand not in subsidized child care.

There is no profit in the Childhood Education Networklaunched Christine Labrie, Solidarity MP for Sherbrooke, who remembers the CPE are non-profit organizations.

Regardless of the cost of offering a place to a CPE per child, this is the best social investment we can make. It allows children to have access to quality educational services. »

A quote from Christine Labrie, MNA for Sherbrooke

He said the minister has a responsibility to help daycare without conversion -ready subsidies achieve their goal. As for the quality control that the minister often cites to explain the slowness of the conversion process, Christine Labrie does not fully follow it.

Journal de Montréal parce qu’il a converti des milieux qui n’étaient pas de bonne qualité. Je le comprends, mais la très vaste majorité sont de bonne qualité, et si elles ne le sont pas, il devrait les faire fermer s’il craint que ce serait odieux de les convertir.”,”text”:”Le ministre ne veut pas se retrouver dans le Journal de Montréal parce qu’il a converti des milieux qui n’étaient pas de bonne qualité. Je le comprends, mais la très vaste majorité sont de bonne qualité, et si elles ne le sont pas, il devrait les faire fermer s’il craint que ce serait odieux de les convertir.”}}”>The minister did not want to find himself in Montreal Journal because he converted midfielders of poor quality. I understand that, but most are of great quality, and if not, he should shut them down if he is afraid of disgusting to convert them.

Waiting for the pilot project to end is a huge risk for him, as some managers of non-subsidized daycares consider the closure.

Faced with a long conversion period, MNA mentioned a roundabout De Québec aims to reclaim non-subsidized spaces without having to go through the conversion process. [Le ministre] He knows that some of these communities are in a precarious financial situation.

Sherbrooke support member Christine Labrie gives a lecture at a park

The coalition deputy for Sherbrooke, Christine Labrie.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Samuel Ranger

Her main fear is to witness the release of staff already established in these daycare settings. It costs less [au gouvernement] to wait for them to close on their own and take over the venues, but in the process we are losing skilled staff, venues, managersratification of the united deputy.

Ms. also pleads. Labrie for change in CPE to provide more equitable treatment to parents with children with disabilities. Unsubsidized daycare centers do not receive money from the state to meet the special needs of these children, he lamented, seeing it as a form of discrimination in regions where areas in CPE lack of supply.

Unsustainable system

PQ Véronique Hivon accuses the Legault government for her part to indulge in a multi-speed system.

If it agrees Minister Lacombe will inherit years [Tony] Thomas at anarchy development [des garderies non subventionnées]without unity with the rest of the network development he already has the responsibility to end it.

Ms. criticized. Hivon the slowness of Quebec to deal with it. It’s amazing, now is the time to do ithe says about the massive conversion. It’s time to ride this battle horse and for the government to provide clear alignment.

In his view, the government chose instead push the problem forward by improving the tax credit paid to parents.

Véronique Hivon, PQ MP for Joliette.

Véronique Hivon, PQ MP for Joliette.

Photo: Radio-Canada

However, this $ 221 million proposal, announced last fall, will, according to him, the system crystallized which he considered unfair for families. She is grieving zero effect because the money, which should have reduced the difference in prices between parents, would instead allow unsubsidized daycares to raise their pricesto stay competitive and attract educators.

Like Christine Labrie, Ms. Hivon raises contradictions about the quality issues raised by Minister Lacombe. If that’s his argument, he should speed up network unificationhe shot. He speaks on both sides of her mouth. He says, “I’m not sure of the quality to get started with a massive conversion program.” So how does he accept that these places continue to exist?

According to the Member for Joliette, conversion will be allowed the accompaniment daycare centers and their managers, and therefore better quality control.

Mathieu Lacombe’s company denied our interview request.

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