Quebec’s current Liberal government under Couillard has broken their promise to maintain its universal child care system with recent announcements of fee hikes for families. Family cost will rise from $7 to at least $9/day with a sliding scale up to $20/day for higher revenue earners. To make matters worse, if passed Bill 27 would charge parents a penalty of $60/day if their space is not utilized, an intransigent measure completely out of step with families’ needs to cope with various circumstances such as the birth of a new baby, illness or vacation, acting as a deterrent to quality family time and forcing parents out of child care spaces for their children.
Clearly these new measures and costs will negatively impact parents, especially mothers, by delaying their return to paid employment or pushing them into inconsistent schedules and less desirable work conditions. Acknowledging the already precarious position of young families, this is further exacerbating stressful living conditions.
It’s worth noting that since Quebec’s commitment to expanding their child care system, over 70 000 more mothers have entered the workforce, bringing in $1,701,000,000 to Quebec and $710,000,000 for the Federal government in tax revenues in 2008. More spending and taxes has proven to give a return of $1.75 for every dollar invested (Fortin et al, 2012). Their child poverty rate, once amongst the highest in Canada, was nearly halved.
Quebec’s universal child care model has been lauded and envied, viewed indeed as the country’s leader in family policy. We are disheartened and dismayed to see their provincial government take such regressive steps and we urge them to stop the dismantling of their program and attacks on families. The CCAAC brings a message of solidarity to the thousands of parents, along with women’s, labour and civil society groups who have opposed these draconian proposals.