POLITICS

Quebec makes a change to landmark $7 daycare system

09/05/2013 04:04 EDT | Updated 11/05/2013 05:12 EST
MONTREAL - Quebec has announced a new record-keeping system for its landmark $7-a-day daycare system.

The provincial government says that, starting next year, parents will be able to register on a single list — which it describes as a one-stop shop.

It says the move is aimed at simplifying things for families, many of whom struggle to find spots in a daycare system plagued by shortages.

Parents' experience can be rendered even more difficult by the scramble to get on different lists. They might, subsequently, register more than once — which adds duplicate names to the system.

The government has already announced plans to create thousands more spaces to meet the demand for the program, which was introduced in Quebec in the 1990s and nearly extended across the country by the Martin Liberals.

Today's announcement pleased the province's public daycare association. But it angered the association of private, subsidized daycares whose president says the government has no right to impose a "communist" list on private businesses just because they receive funding.

A study at the Universite de Sherbrooke concluded last year that Quebec's daycare program has allowed nearly 70,000 mothers to enter the workforce, and brought the province 147 per cent more in tax revenues than it paid out to fund the system.