Quebec set to create 4,359 new daycare spots in 13 regions

With a glaring lack of childcare spaces, the Quebec government is set to create 4,359 new spots in 13 regions where the need is most acute.

The announcement was made Monday morning by Families Minister Mathieu Lacombe, who kicked off a call for projects for subsidized places in educational childcare services, primarily in a family environment.

Marie-Claude Lemieux of the Quebec Association of Daycares welcomed the announcement. 

"It was important before the pandemic and now, if we want to see the economy resume, we really need to speed up the development," she said. 

Lacombe specified that at the same time, 11,701 places announced in the past but never created were currently in development.

Of the new 4,359 places announced on Monday, 2,500 had already been announced in the government's latest 2019-2020 budget. Lemieux said staffing shortages had prevented some of those spots from opening up. 

"We're looking for ways to increase and accelerate the training and get them to work in our mlieu," she said. 

Those interested have until Jan. 15, 2021 to present a project.

The most affected regions will be those in the Quebec City area (1,132 places), Abitibi (508) and Outaouais (496).

In a statement, opposition party Quebec Solidaire noted that thousands of Quebec families are already on waiting lists for daycare positions.

"The 46,000 families who need a spot now know that their children will have time start school before these places announced today will be available," they said. 

Guillaume Hebert of the IRIS Research Institute said a major investment into childcare should be prioritized by the government. 

"It's not always easy to justify massive investment into society and right now, this is exactly what we need," he said. "We have the need from a social point of view and from the economic point of view. The government could announce many tens of thousands of spots and I think everyone would agree in Quebec."

- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 5, 2020.

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