MONTREAL — After three days of consultations, Quebec’s Family Minister said she has decided not to fine parents whose children are registered for a full-time daycare spot but who don’t use it five days a week.
Francine Charbonneau tabled Bill 27 in November; legislation she said at the time would optimize subsidized childcare services.
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Controversially, it included a provision that would fine up to $60 per day those parents who register their children for daily full-time care, but keep their children at home during the week.
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Quebec Ombudsman Raymonde Saint-Germain was critical of the sanctions against parents, arguing that the plan was unfair, did not address the problem and did not save the government money.
“The ministerial proposal penalizes parents, especially those with atypical childcare needs,” Saint-Germain said in a statement on Jan. 15.
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“Furthermore, there is the risk that the solutions put forward might not have a positive impact on public finances, and instead push many parents into having their child in childcare full-time rather than what they would have wanted.
“We conclude that this will not generate available spaces or savings.”
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The Ombudsman recommended that the sanctions be removed from Bill 27 and childcare centres try to address real childcare needs by, for example, offering occasional and part-time places.
Charbonneau said she would work on a new solution to try and make the system more flexible.
Daycares who charge the full subsidy when a child does not attend full-time could still face fines up to $1,000.