Author Topic: Quebec Daycare Questions  (Read 706 times)

CanuckExpat

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Quebec Daycare Questions
« on: February 22, 2017, 07:01:17 PM »
Hello. I've been curious recently about the daycare system in Quebec. Does anyone have much experience with it? Where would one start if they were considering a hypothetical move, to let's say Montreal.

The only official looking page with information I could find was in French. Any good (official) English resources?
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Maya

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Re: Quebec Daycare Questions
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2017, 08:46:17 PM »
All the info you need is here. http://www.budget.finances.gouv.qc.ca/budget/outils/garde_en.asp  It's now tied to income and you pay $8 to the daycare (subsidized spot) and you pay the difference to the government at tax time. If in a private spot you get a refund back from the government either monthly or at tax time.

CanuckExpat

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Re: Quebec Daycare Questions
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2017, 09:02:11 AM »
Thanks Maya. It looks like that site covers the financial aspects, but not the practical: how do you go about finding an "approved" spot (if that is the right name)? Are there waiting lists? Can you go to any daycare in the province and assume they will fall under the program, or do you have to look for certain terms?

Does this cover preschools as well?
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okits

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Re: Quebec Daycare Questions
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2017, 10:20:47 AM »
One question relevant to early retirees: is eligibility for a daycare spot or daycare subsidy contingent on employment (a minimum earned-wage level or number of hours worked)?
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mld

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Re: Quebec Daycare Questions
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2017, 10:49:25 AM »
This is the site you want to be on the official waiting list "https://www.laplace0-5.com/in/faces/homeInBook.xhtml" however, you want to be doing research on your own through other parents with kiddoes in subsidized daycares or say through local parent-mommy facebook groups. The daycare providers don't have to follow the list as lots of  things make the priority numbers shift (like siblings of kids in the daycare have priority, or if an employee of the daycare as a baby etc). Daycare providers still tend to prefer finding kiddoes through references, around here anyways, might be different in montreal.

Other useful info is that spots are easier to find in September since that is when most contracts end as the kids start school. It's really clear when a daycare is subsidized since they need to be licensed as such. I'm not sure if there are subsidized preschools so can't really give info on that.

One question relevant to early retirees: is eligibility for a daycare spot or daycare subsidy contingent on employment (a minimum earned-wage level or number of hours worked)?

No, I've personally never heard of a subsidized daycare asking for proof of employment. However, the program changed recently and, like Maya mentioned, part of what you pay (the additional contribution paid after you submit your taxes) is now tied to your income so that can play into the blanve of how much you pay. For a second child, the additional contribution is cut down to 50% and no additional contribution is required for a third child.

If you ever want more info more specific to montreal, I do believe one of my old roomates when I lived in Montreal runs a daycare there. Not sure all the details like if it is private or subsidized but I could always contact her for more info so don't hesitate to ask.

pzkfwg

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Re: Quebec Daycare Questions
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2017, 07:51:37 PM »
I'm from Montreal and have been using day care for my two kids for 7 years or so (my second kid is just finishing). Back in 2010, it was a nightmare to find a place. It is difficult for me to tell now, but I think that it is way easier (more places were added over time and there is now a single national waiting list mentioned earlier, but there are shortcuts). The way I understand it, you have several kinds:
  • The "CPE" (Centre de la petite enfance) which is kind of public and always subsidized. You pay 8$/day and the difference in the tax report
  • The private subsidized spot. Same price, but run by a private business. This is what we got.
  • The private daycare: you pay the full price which is around 35-45$/day in Montreal (less in the suburbs)! However, it is tax-deductible (contrary to those above) so you may end up paying LESS if you have a high income! Indeed, the subsidized price is not tax deductible and may cost 20$/day.
  • The "family" spot where a single person can take care of 6 (or 8?) kids at home. Also full price.

A private spot may be a good starting point before having access to a subsidized spot. This is what we did with our first kid when places where sparse.

Any may or may not include "preshool". My private subsidized day care offers it so both my kids went through it with success. Mine also happen to be bilingual so my kids learned English with amazing efficiency while native English/foreign speaker learn French with the same efficiency.

TrMama

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Re: Quebec Daycare Questions
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2017, 04:37:09 PM »
My experience with the system is 6 years out of date, but here's my story.

We moved from BC to Quebec City when my kids were 2 and newborn. My oldest had been in daycare in BC before we left. After we moved, I stayed home with the kids and didn't put them in daycare. However, I spent a lot of time out and about with the kids at parks, indoor play centres, etc and saw a lot of different daycare groups.

I (and most of my ex-pat friends) was frequently horrified at the way the daycares treated the kids when they were out in public. The best way I can describe it is that the kids were herded around like animals. Little attention was paid to them as long as they weren't grievously injured. The staff only ever stood around chatting with each other while the kids ran wild. It was so bad the mom's group I was part of would only schedule events at the indoor play center after confirming with the owners that no daycare groups were scheduled at the same time. This was to prevent our kids from being trampled by the mob of daycare kids. There was one park near our house I wouldn't go to because the local daycare that frequented it treated their kids so badly I couldn't stand to watch.

I think a lot of parents there know their kids aren't getting the best care, but the waiting lists for any care at all are so long they feel they have no other choice. I was so, so glad we could afford to live on one income when we were there.

When my oldest was about to turn 3, I started looking for a pre-school (the type that runs for a few hours a couple days a week). I couldn't find one to save my life. When I asked local parents at the playground if they knew of any good preschools in the area, they assumed I was having a language problem (I speak french with an accent). "Oh, you mean a daycare! Yes, there's a great one here, and there and there . . . " The word pre-school (prematernelle) has basically disappeared from Quebecois French. The closest I was able to find was a daycare that was willing to take us on part time. It was not a good one.

When we moved back to BC I was thrilled to pay full price for daycare for my kids. Because it's not so heavily subsidized here, there seems to be less demand for it. That means the daycares actually have to provide decent care, or the parents will take their business elsewhere.

When you set up a daycare based on running it as cheaply as possible, you get what you pay for. If you're considering a move to Montreal, I'd stay well away from the CPEs and look for a private daycare. Preferably one that charges enough that it has to provide decent care or the parents will try to move their kids elsewhere. Another option is to have one parent stay home. The COL is low enough for that to be possible.

pzkfwg

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Re: Quebec Daycare Questions
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2017, 07:17:46 PM »
I think that it is important to say that:
  • There are horrible daycares but there are very good ones too. Like TrMama 7 years ago, we were stuck with a really not good daycare because the waiting lists were so long at the time. But now, our daycare since at least 6 years is VERY good so there are good ones too, you really just need to do your homework.
  • You should check with newer sources about the waiting list because I kind of heard that the government added so many new places in CPE that the waiting lists melted and the competition between daycares is much more fierce. But that really needs to be double-checked!
Hope this helps!

CanuckExpat

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Re: Quebec Daycare Questions
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2017, 11:15:03 PM »
Thank you everyone for your wonderful responses, useful information, and interesting personal stories. The site mld had much more of the information I was looking for, including a map of daycares by locations, and some explanation of the the different types in the program which seemed tricky to figure out at first glance.

In a foreboding* sign, the English version of the site had some very inconvenient dead links: "click here to register" for example* but by switching between the English and French sites I was able to manage. The one thing I could not find, at least yet, was any sort of map of which locations had "open" space, or an approximate waiting time: i.e. where you could enroll immediately, or could estimate when a spot would open up.

Our personal case is a bit different than typical, and part of this is mainly curiosity about the Quebec system, as I have only heard about it from the outside. My wife and I both quit our jobs last year, and we are relatively location independent. Montreal pops up as an interesting city to relocate to for many reasons.
In our case, I think I would at least be interested in the preschool aspect as much, if not more than the daycare aspect (though really, I love daycare), and I was curious how it integrated with this system. It seems like it depends on a provider by provider basis? For example, are there daycares/preschools in the system that follow the Montessori method (just to pick one randomly that I know of)?

A lot of useful information here and somewhere to start from. Thank you!

I (and most of my ex-pat friends) was frequently horrified at the way the daycares treated the kids when they were out in public. The best way I can describe it is that the kids were herded around like animals. Little attention was paid to them as long as they weren't grievously injured. The staff only ever stood around chatting with each other while the kids ran wild.
Sorry to hear you had a bad experience. That is good to keep in mind, and I'm glad to hear you have a better solution now in BC.
In all fairness though, the bloded part made me slightly smile, because that sounds similar to how I would treat my kid. And he's had at least one grievous injury under my watch/fault (nurse-maids elbow), and he constantly goes around with scrapes and split lips now that he's travelling full time with us. He likes to run and fall and climb, I mostly attribute it to "boys will be boys", so he might be safer in a Quebec daycare than with us :)
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