06/03/2013 11:39 EDT | Updated 08/03/2013 05:12 EDT

Private daycares say looming cut threatens their survival

There is growing concern among private daycare operators in Quebec about the provincial government's plan to cut $15 million from their budgets next month.

Liane Tusa, the director of Les Petits Anges, a private, non-profit daycare centre in Montreal's Notre-Dame-de-Grâce district, said her daycare survives from the subsidies it receives from Quebec and the $7 per day parents pay to leave children in her care.

Tusa said her staff are paid at the same rate as public early-childhood education centres (known by their French acronym CPEs), which leaves her no place to trim.

"Every penny counts, and everything goes directly to the children," Tusa said.

Sixty-nine children attend Les Petits Anges, and the centre's waiting list is in the hundreds.

"They have good programs," said Jasmine Fischer, the mother of one child at the centre. "They do a lot of activities: they have music. They have gym class."

However, with an expected cut of close to $30,000, those programs are in jeopardy.

"I don't know if we'll be able to survive that in the long run," said Tusa. "We're really worried."

The budget cuts threaten more than the daycare itself, they also threaten the financial wellbeing of the century-old church that houses the centre.

"We've been able to breathe new life back into this building," Tusa said. "Families are coming here and have been coming by the hundreds since 2004. We're the principal tenant."