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

  • Quebec police looking for missing 17-year-old girl

    Canada News CTV News
    Police in Quebec are appealing to the public for help in locating a 17-year-old girl who has been missing for two days. Laval police said Kelly Martin Nolet was last seen leaving for work on Thursday, but she never showed up. Source
  • Montreal man convicted of manslaughter for killing wife who had Alzheimer's

    Canada News CBC News
    A jury has opted for the lesser of two possible verdicts suggested by a judge, finding Montrealer Michel Cadotte guilty of manslaughter for the 2017 death of his ailing wife. The jurors began their deliberations on Feb. Source
  • At least 20 killed in vehicle accident at China mine

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING -- State media report at least 20 people were killed and 30 injured in a vehicle accident at a mine in northern China blamed on faulty brakes. The Xinhua News Agency says the accident occurred Saturday morning at a lead, zinc and silver mine operated by the Yinman Mining Company in the sprawling inner Mongolia region. Source
  • Explosions, delays mark Nigeria's presidential election

    World News CBC News
    Gunfire and explosions opened the voting in Nigeria's delayed election on Saturday as President Muhammadu Buhari sought a second term. The vote, widely seen as too close to call, also was marred by hours-long delays at polling stations across the West African country. Source
  • Hundreds gather at celebration of life for former MP Paul Dewar

    Canada News CBC News
    Hundreds of people are filling an Ottawa church to say their final goodbyes to former MP Paul Dewar. Dewar, who represented the riding of Ottawa-Centre for almost a decade, died earlier this month from brain cancer. He was 56. Source
  • 'Tears of sadness for a life too short': Former MP Paul Dewar remembered at memorial service

    Canada News CBC News
    Hundreds of people filled an Ottawa church to capacity on Saturday to say their final goodbyes to former MP Paul Dewar. Dewar, who represented the riding of Ottawa-Centre for almost a decade, died earlier this month from brain cancer. Source
  • As U.S. plans in Syria shift, Canada tries to plan for own forces in Iraq

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- The commander of Canada's special forces says officials are watching closely to see what impact U.S. plans to withdraw hundreds of soldiers from Syria could have on Canada's mission in neighbouring Iraq. In an interview with The Canadian Press, Maj. Source
  • Vietnam issues traffic ban for Kim's possible arrival route

    World News CTV News
    HANOI, Vietnam -- Vietnam has announced an unprecedented traffic ban along a possible arrival route of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ahead of his second summit with President Donald Trump in Hanoi next week, state media reported. Source
  • Train possibly taking Kim Jong Un to summit enters China

    World News CTV News
    DANDONG, China -- A train similar to one used in the past by Kim Jong Un entered China on Saturday evening, possibly carrying the North Korean leader on a multiday journey to Vietnam's capital for his summit with U.S. Source
  • 3 Venezuelan soldiers desert post amid border tensions

    World News CBC News
    Three members of the Venezuelan national guard deserted their posts early on Saturday, Colombia's migration agency said, ahead of a planned opposition-led effort to bring aid into the economically devastated county. The soldiers have asked for help from the agency, it said. Source