Women who have had to quit their jobs for lack of places in childcare centers denounced the urgency of the situation during an opposition press briefing on Thursday.
The spokesperson for the second opposition group for the family, Christine Labrie, described in particular the case of a single-parent woman forced to squander all her savings and those of her 11-year-old son, to illustrate the urgency of finding a solution to the child care space crisis. The opposition was calling on Thursday for an emergency aid benefit for parents, mothers in particular who have to leave their jobs for lack of childcare space.
“If the CAQ is uncomfortable with the fact that women of my generation who are so in trouble because of their inaction, well, let them put measures in place, let them put one in place, an emergency aid benefit. That’s what these women need,” thundered the member for Quebec solidaire in the Sherbrooke region.
Ms. Labrie then gave the floor to mothers who found themselves up against the wall, especially because they had to leave their jobs to take care of their children.
"Once you hit rock bottom, it's years and years to get out of it," said Pascale Levasseur, a single mother of an 11-year-old child.
A beneficiary attendant, she was unable to return to work due to the shortage of childcare facilities. After selling her house and then babysitting her own children, she found herself without money and had to turn to social assistance. This was refused to him. "I don't qualify for welfare because my 11-year-old boy has a bank account with $3,000 in it," she explained. The maximum of all family accounts cannot exceed $1,500 to qualify.
She then squandered the little money she had left to be able to receive the aid she so desperately needed. Looking for a job and still looking for a place in daycare, she finally got one privately.
Her obstacle course finally ended when she got a job.
“I don't know how many families in Quebec are able to go four months without income. But for me, it was the story of a life. In fact, it was my house that went there,” said the mother, aware that her situation could have been even worse without the help of her relatives or if she had had any health concerns.
For Ms. Labrie, the case of Ms. Levasseur is not unique. Thousands of other women in Quebec suffer for years these economic impacts, consequences of not having emergency assistance benefits. "That's the consequences, decades of financial impact for women," she said.
During the question period, Ms. Labrie read a poignant testimony from a woman who had an abortion because of the lack of childcare spaces.
"My heart is crying right now because I just found out I'm pregnant. We decided not to keep him, because the situation is so difficult for a place in daycare, and especially financially, it is so hard, that we cannot afford to keep him, ”shared the MP.
The Minister of Families, Mr. Lacombe, responded with financial arguments. “We, as a government, are answering the call, $6 billion on the table. We have increased the salaries of educators, 37,000 places in production,” he said.
“The network is not being completed. The results of the CAQ is that there are more places that have closed than places that have been created,” noted Ms. Labrie.
Québec Solidaire believes that emergency aid is necessary in the short term and is proposing several possible solutions.
“The proposal we made was to base ourselves on the amount of social assistance that is given when there is a temporary constraint on employment. Having a child, not having places in childcare, it is a temporary constraint to employment, “explained the member for Sherbrooke to support the idea of an amount of $ 870 in aid.
The nationalization of the system would also be considered. “The CPE model is community driven. It is a model that has proven itself, which is of excellent quality, she commented. One thing is certain, for me, and that is that there is no place for for-profit companies in the provision of educational childcare services. I think we should favor the CPE model, the NPO model, it's a model that has proven itself in terms of quality, because we want every dollar invested in this network to be used to provide services of quality to children, not to make a profit to entrepreneurs.”