Québec enjoys an educational childcare service network that is unique in North America. With the creation of subsidized childcare services, the Québec government allowed thousands of Québec families to benefit from reduced contribution spaces and above all, enabled thousands of children to benefit from educational childcare in caring, inclusive and safe settings.
Some twenty years ago, Québec adopted a family policy and in so doing, instituted a comprehensive societal project. By implementing universal educational childcare at reduced rates, Québec enabled all Québec families to have access to quality public services that contribute to their children's development while improving work-family and education-family balance.
Childcare centres and home childcare providers work to accompany the global development of every child by taking into consideration the child's needs and abilities.
Navigating the labyrinth of Québec's childcare services
PUBLIC HOME CHILDCARE
A home childcare service resembles a child's natural living environment. The setting and the family approach help create a familiar environment. Reduced contribution childcare delivers services in which quality is monitored. The number of children is limited and the day-to-day activities are held in multi-age groups.
A home childcare provider (HCP) is a self-employed worker. She is recognized and must be accredited by a coordinating office within the meaning of the law.
The HCP applies an educational program, must comply with the requirements of Bill 51, the Act respecting the representation of certain home childcare providers and provide reduced contribution spaces, as well as meals and snacks.
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PRIVATE HOME CHILDCARE
Childcare services provided by a person who takes care of up to six children in a private residence, who sets her own rates and who is not subject to any regulation. The quality of services provided is not verified and the person taking care of the children is not obligated to use an educational program.
CENTRE DE LA PETITE ENFANCE (CPE)
Childcare centres (CPE) are non-profit organizations that provide educational childcare to children age 0 to 5 years. They offer reduced contribution childcare services. At least two thirds of the members of the board of directors who are responsible for the sound management of these social economy enterprises are parents using the services. The primary mission of the CPEs is to meet the childcare needs of parents and their community as well as to fulfill the educational needs of the children they are entrusted with.
PRIVATE DAYCARE CENTRE
A private daycare centre is usually a for-profit enterprise providing childcare services in a facility. Several private daycare centres have reached an agreement with the Ministère de la Famille enabling them to offer reduced contribution spaces. They are called "subsidized daycare centres." Daycare centres that do not offer reduced contribution spaces are called "non-subsidized daycare centres" and the expenses incurred by parents are eligible for the provincial income tax credit.
LEGAL OR ILLEGAL?
There are different types of childcare services in Québec. Some are recognized by the Ministère de la Famille, others are not, and still others violate the provisions of the Educational Childcare Act.
Childcare services that are recognized by the Ministère de la Famille all share the commitment of the Québec government to provide children with a healthy, safe living environment in which they can grow and develop. Because they are regulated by the Educational Childcare Act and the Educational Childcare Regulation, educational childcare services must meet strict quality standards. They offer many benefits for parents and for the children who attend childcare.
REGULATION GOVERNING CHILDCARE SERVICES
In Québec, CPEs and home childcare services are regulated by the following legislation and regulations: