In 2016, the government forced private nurseries subsidized and the CPE to have an annual attendance rate of at least 80%, otherwise, their grants would be reduced.
Under the threat of having their subsidies to melt like snow in the sun, the very vast majority of private nurseries and subsidized centres de la petite enfance (CPE) managed to increase their attendance rate to reach the famous threshold of 80 % imposed by Québec, reveal the latest figures from the ministry of the Family obtained by The Duty. But for those who écopent, the invoice can be salty, denounces the Association des garderies privées du Québec (AGPQ), which begins to take the full measure of the financial impacts on its members.
In 2016, to fight against ” the squares ghosts “, the government forced private nurseries subsidized and the CPE to have an annual attendance rate of at least 80 %, otherwise, their grants would be reduced. They were so many to denounce the measure, arguing that it was virtually impossible to achieve and, especially, out of their control, since they cannot compel parents to bring their child to the daycare.
But the first results recorded by the ministry of the Family, demonstrate that the announcement of Quebec has had the desired effect. Thus, in early childhood centres, the attendance rate rose from an average of 77,94 % in 2015-2016 to 81,47 % in 2016-2017. In the private day care centers subsidized, the average is even higher, from $ 82,63 % to 85.2 % for those same two years.
Decrease of subsidies
In spite of all, not all child care services that pass the year, and many are to be found under the bar set by Quebec. According to the ministry, 13.6% of permit holders have seen their operating grant reduced in 2016-2017.
And although the measure has been in effect for over a year and a half, it is only now that directors of childcare facilities grant-aided private feel the effects on their funding, so they receive these days confirmation of their final grant for the year 2016-2017.
“There are childcare services that are successful, but some do come just not, despite all their good will, deplores the president of the Association des garderies privées du Québec (AGPQ), Samir Alahmad. For example, it was a daycare — a standard installation with 80 seats — that happens to an attendance rate of 76 %. In his case, the puncture amounted to nearly $ 20,000. For a manager of care, it represents a lot of money. This is a new cut in disguise. “
The ministry states that “for 2016-2017, the decreases in grants related to the attendance rate amounted to approximately 1.45 million,” which represents 0.09% of total amount operating grant paid to licence holders.
“Yes, it may seem a little high, but it is distributed over a small number of childcare facilities, so it is a significant amount for each of them,” retorted the AGPQ.
Impacts on the ground
Samir Alahmad reminds us that almost 70 % of the operating budget of a child care facilities is spent on salaries. “After all expenses, at the end of the year, it does not remain large-thing. 20 000 $, it is sometimes 20 % or even 30 % of what remains for you. It is a lot, especially in a context where every penny counts. Because he does not forget, it’s been four years since the network was undergoing cuts one above the other. “
The association believes that the impacts are already being felt on the ground. “It is unfortunate to say, but we see that there are people who start delaying projects, deferring maintenance work or the purchase of educational materials and recreational. “
A threshold that is too high
For its part, the Association québécoise des centres de la petite enfance (AQCPE) said they still have not had the echoes of its members concerning the adjustments of grants. But here also, it is found that the threshold of 80 % is too high. “80 %, it means that a child may be absent a maximum of 52 days per year says the director general, Geneviève Bélisle. When one calculates that a child has gone one month with his parents for the holidays, it’s going to do some Fridays with grand-mom or grand-dad and he’s going to be sick a certain number of days, it’s going fast… ” not to mention that the thirteen public holidays, where the day-care and CPE are closed, are taken into account in the equation.
“The problem is that one has no control over it, we can’t force parents to bring their children to day-care just to meet the requirements of the ministry, and yet, some are beginning to do so in order not to be penalized,” said president of the Association des garderies privées du Québec, Samir Alahmad. This last reminds us that many parents withdrew their children as soon as there was an outbreak of gastro in the building, which also contributes to the increase in the rate of absenteeism. The association adds that this pressure on the parents helps to pass more and more parents to care services for non-funded, which have no requirement of presence.
Samir Alahmad concedes that there may have been abuse in the past, but here, the return of the pendulum is too restrictive, judge-t-it. The association asked the government to lower the minimum threshold to 75 %, which would give them a little bit more flexibility.
But since some do, can’t they all succeed ? “Yes, many are successful in signing up more children than the number registered on their permit, in order to fill the absences are predictable. But this is not possible for everyone, it depends on the regions, and some child care services can not even fill all the seats. And then, it is not easy to manage, and it sometimes has negative consequences when educators find themselves with children in their group “, as we could read in The line of Duty recently.