They fight to open a daycare

They are fighting to open a daycare

MISE À DAY

Two women who have been trying to add a childcare center to their region for eight months now denounce an endless administrative maze, while 51,761 children are still waiting for a place in Quebec.

A daycare on the edge of the forest to allow young people to “go back to basics” and “educate themselves through nature”, this is the project Carolanne Dufour and Tanya Émond had in mind when they set up their business plan.

But “L'Avenir Boréal”, their daycare centre, which was supposed to accommodate between 40 and 80 children in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, may never see the light of day.

It's been eight months now that the two entrepreneurs have seen their project constantly postponed.

“It's like working with the wind in your face, it feels like you've been put a stick in your wheels. We're trying to persevere, but it's starting to be difficult,” says Ms. Dufour, who already owns a daycare centre, as does her business partner. 

Obstacles to the ton

A first request was sent at the end of November 2021 to set up their daycare center in Larouche, but it was refused a month later.

The Ministry of Family believed that the needs of the territory were met.

A second attempt, this time in Alma, was then made in February, but it was ignored. They were missing the offer to purchase their premises, which they were to receive a few days after the closing of the call for tenders.  

The two women therefore had to wait for the call for tenders, in June, so that their file is treated as it should be.  

They then received a letter of non-admissibility, of which Le Journal obtained a copy, stipulating that “the territory […] is not open or the needs [.. .] have been filled since the filing of [their] request”. 

The Ministère de la Famille had however confirmed to Journal a few weeks ago that in the region would be 90% in 2024 and that there were therefore needs in this sector.

To make matters worse, Mrs. Émond and Mrs. Dufour lost the premises they had to acquire to set up their daycare. After they had postponed the deadline of their promise to purchase for four months, the owner of the building finally resolved to sell it to a third party.

“We are so discouraged, it sure we thought about giving up… We say we want to improve the network, but we slow down those who raise their hands,” laments Tanya Émond.

“We get phone calls every week for places, we see announcements from desperate parents … We want to help, but we've been stuck in administrative problems for eight months, it doesn't make sense”, plague on his side Mrs. Dufour, referring to some 52,000 children who are still waiting for a place. 

Questioned by Le Journal, the Ministry of Family said that the letter of inadmissibility was sent in error. A decision on the two entrepreneurs' project should be made by the end of August.  

A situation deemed “unacceptable” 

The Ministère de la Famille should show more flexibility and offer better support to people who wish to help the network of daycare centers in Quebec, which is suffering from a serious shortage, believes the Ma place au travail movement. 

The obstacle course told by the two entrepreneurs from Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean comes as no surprise to the organization that fights to ensure that every child has access to a place in daycare.

Many testimonials similar ones have been brought to its ears in the past year.

The non-profit organization has even accompanied some people wishing to embark on the process, due to its complexity.

< p>But many were not so lucky and threw in the towel along the way.

“It lacks accessibility in so many aspects, it is unacceptable. We only have to think of the endless stages of bureaucracy just to acquire premises or to arrive at the first shovelful of earth, ”denounces Marylin Dion, spokesperson for the Ma place au travail movement.

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A contradictory message 

When it is not disproportionate administrative delays, it is the rigidity of procedures and regulations that defeats the ambitions of future daycare owners, according to Ms. Dion.

“We are in the most total incomprehension. What message does it send? There is a huge lack of consistency between what the CAQ says and its desire to complete the network within three years and what is happening in the field,” she believes.

L he organization states that the number one priority should be the safety of children, but regrets that there is no way to come to an agreement when one deviates even slightly from a rule established by the government.< /p>

“During this time, parents are directly affected and impoverished, stuck at home with their child without the possibility of working. And they are not entitled to any financial assistance, ”laments the spokesperson for Ma place au travail. 

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