Quebec calculating how many subsidized daycare spots it can offer refugees

MONTREAL -- The Quebec government is assessing how many subsidized daycare spaces in its already crowded network it can offer Syrian refugees, but a spokesperson for the family minister says current waiting lists will be respected.

See Full Article

All of Quebec's so-called institutional childcare centres are full, and some parents have been waiting years to place their children in one of the highly coveted spots.

The only available subsidized daycare spaces are in family-run centres, which are located in private homes and can receive up to six children a day, said Nadia Caron, a spokeswoman for Quebec's family minister.

She added however, that the government doesn't know how many of those spots are free.

Affordable daycare services will become increasingly important for many of the 7,000 Syrian refugees expected to arrive in Quebec by the end of 2016 as parents begin French-language courses and integrate into the labour market.

Quebec heavily subsidizes roughly 228,000 daycare spaces across the province and charges parents on a sliding scale, depending on family income.

The cheapest spots are $7.55 a day, per child. Parents who benefit from government assistance don't pay for three days out of five.

Caron said Syrian refugees are eligible for subsidized daycare spaces and also for government assistance, which would reduce significantly the price of a spot - if they can find one.

She said, however, that refugees will not be skipping the line.

"It's clear the waiting lists that exist will remain, out of respect for the families who are already waiting for the subsidized spots," she said.

There are roughly 137,000 so-called institutional subsidized daycare spots in Quebec. All are wait list-only.

Additionally, according to Caron, family, home-run daycares have 91,000 places available, and her department is trying to assess how many spots are open in the regions where the bulk of the refugees are expected to settle in the coming months.

"The count is happening now," she said. "We will then create a brochure and have all the information, including how and where to find a daycare space for the Syrian families who request it."

It is unclear exactly how many Syrians in Quebec require daycare spaces. The United Nations Refugee Agency estimates 52 per cent of Syrian refugees are under the age of 18.

Marie-Eve Dolbec, a spokeswoman for the organization that co-ordinates subsidized daycare spots for the government, said refugees will not be given special treatment in the hunt for the prized reduced-rate spot.

She said certain daycare centres that have ties to community organizations could, in theory, give priority to Syrian refugees.

"But I have not heard of any request to do that," she said.

There are also reduced-rate daycare spots in some community centres where refugees and immigrants learn French, but those places are temporary and parents can no longer have access to the system once they complete their language courses.

Chantal Hudson, with the Syrian Canadian Council, said 98 per cent of the roughly 2,600 Syrian refugees who have already arrived in Quebec have been privately sponsored by families or community organizations.

She said as more government-sponsored refugees arrive over the next weeks and months - people who have minimal contacts in the province - there will likely be more pressure on the province for childcare options.

Hudson said her organization has already helped roughly 60 Syrian refugees "and the majority of the families we have so far worked with have children who are quite young."

The Quebec government has set aside $29 million to settle 7,000 refugees by the end of 2016. It is unclear if that sum includes funds for daycare or if the province will be asking the federal government for financial help for additional child services.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Malta offers $1.18 million to discover who killed reporter

    World News CTV News
    VALLETTA, Malta -- Malta's government is offering a $1.18 million reward and full protection for anyone with information on who killed an investigative reporter with a car bomb. The government statement Saturday called the Oct. Source
  • Trump calls congresswoman 'wacky' in dispute over remarks to soldier's widow

    World News CBC News
    Mourners were expected to pack a church Saturday to honour a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between U.S. President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman. Family, friends and neighbours of Sgt. Source
  • Bannon faults George W. Bush for ‘destructive’ presidency

    World News CTV News
    Former White House adviser Steve Bannon depicted former U.S. President George W. Bush as bumbling and inept, faulting him for presiding over a “destructive” presidency during his time in the White House. Bannon’s scathing remarks on Friday night amounted to a retort to a Bush speech in New York earlier this week, in which the 43rd president denounced bigotry in Trump-era American politics and warned that the rise of “nativism,” isolationism and conspiracy theories have clouded the nation’s true…
  • U.S. appeals court blocks immigrant teen's access to abortion

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — An appeals court is blocking, for now, an abortion sought by a pregnant 17-year-old immigrant being held in a Texas facility, ruling that the government should have time to try to release her so she can obtain the abortion outside of federal custody. Source
  • Knife wielding man arrested after 8 attacked in Munich

    World News Toronto Sun
    BERLIN — A man with a knife attacked eight people in Munich on Saturday and then fled, police said. The suspected assailant, a local German already known to police for theft and other offences, was arrested a few hours later. Source
  • Trump jabs back at 'wacky' congresswoman as spat rolls on

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Unwilling to put the tussling behind, U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday jabbed back at the Democratic lawmaker who has slammed him for his words of condolence to a military widow, calling Rep. Source
  • ISIS claims responsibility for Afghan mosque attack

    World News Toronto Sun
    KABUL — The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a Shiite mosque in the capital as Afghan officials on Saturday raised the number of casualties from the attack to at least 39 dead and at least 41 wounded. Source
  • Spain's PM seeks senate permission to dissolve Catalonia's government

    World News CBC News
    Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says he wants his country's senate to give him direct power to dissolve the regional Catalan government and to call an early election as soon as possible. Rajoy said after meeting with his cabinet on Saturday that the central government needs to take the unprecedented step of assuming control of Catalonia to "restore order" in the face of a secession effort backed by the regional government. Source
  • Why the murder of a journalist in Malta sent ripples as far as Canada

    World News CBC News
    Consider what's happened since Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed by a bomb that exploded under her car, and you'll get a glimpse into just how influential she was. In a rare move, Pope Francis sent a letter of condolence to Caruana Galizia's three sons. Source
  • Egyptian officials say 54 police killed in Egypt attack

    World News CTV News
    CAIRO -- At least 54 policemen, including 20 officers and 34 conscripts, were killed when a raid on a militant hideout outside of Cairo escalated into an all-out firefight, authorities said Saturday. It was one of the largest losses of life for Egyptian security forces since militants began targeting government forces after the 2013 military ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, whose one-year rule proved divisive. Source