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The children of asylum seekers have not regained the access to daycare to which they are entitled

Photo: Jacques Nadeau Archives Le Devoir On February 7, the Court of Appeal concluded that excluding asylum seekers from daycare centers constituted “discrimination based on sex.”

Lisa-Marie Gervais

8:28 p.m.

  • Quebec

Despite a judgment from the Court of Appeal in their favor, the children of asylum seekers still do not have access to subsidized childcare services. In the absence of a clear directive from the Ministry of Family, confusion reigns within the management of CPEs and other subsidized environments, who say they do not know what to do.

“We have not yet received any directives from the Ministry of Families,” declared Marie-Claude Lemieux, co-director general of the Association québécoise des centers de la petite jeunesse (AQCPE).

Published on February 7, the Court of Appeal's decision rejected the Quebec government and concluded that excluding asylum seekers from daycares constituted “discrimination based on sex” since it prevents women from go to the job market.

Despite the silence of the ministry, the AQCPE, which was inundated with calls, did not hesitate to take the lead. A communication was sent to all its members — which notably include 80% of CPEs — to inform them that the enforceable judgment restored access to subsidized services to the children of asylum seekers.

“For us, there is no ambiguity,” she added. We took great care to tell our members that if, obviously, the government expressed itself clearly on its intentions to go to the Supreme Court, we would advise. »

An asylum seeker of Haitian origin, Ariancia works as an educational assistant in a subsidized daycare at $9.10 a day, where she dreamed of sending her daughter rather than having to pay $40 for a middle of unsubsidized care. “When I knew that we could have access to CPEs, I was really happy. I was crying, she says. It was my employer who told me about it. She [the boss] was very happy too, because she has a place for my daughter. But we were waiting to know when. »

Ariancia is banking heavily on access to subsidized childcare, which would allow it to make significant savings. “We are a low-income family. My salary per day goes to my daughter's daycare and my daughter's daycare, she explained. I know families who are on social assistance even if they have a work permit. Without daycare, they cannot work. »

CPEs in a “blur”

The management of CPE and other subsidized childcare settings say they are in “a limbo”. “We have not received any directives,” reiterated to the Devoir a director of two CPEs in Montreal, who prefers to remain anonymous given that she must report accounts at the Ministry of Family. According to her, this lack of directive prevents management from starting to welcome children of asylum seekers again. “Everyone is in waiting mode. It’s unfortunate, because it’s the time of year when we make groups for September. »

According to this director, many CPE directorates do not dare to take children of asylum seekers because, following the first decision in their favor, that of the Superior Court, the Ministry of Family had quickly sent a message to all subsidized childcare settings to tell them to ignore the judgment and remind them of their conditions of approval. “It was quite threatening. If it hadn't been for this first episode, we wouldn't hesitate to open our doors. But there, we fear for the families. If we welcome them and in two weeks we are told that we have to kick them out, it will be even worse. »

For Maryse Poisson, of the Daycare Access Committee, the decision must be quickly made official with all subsidized daycare services. “It is the responsibility of the ministry to tell all childcare services that this is the end of this discrimination. It should not be subjective, nor should each CPE management decide what to do. »

The Ministry of Family was not able to say whether there had been a rush of registrations in Place 0-5 given that “the status of the parents or the child is not a requirement for creating an account.” In the office of Minister Suzanne Roy, it is indicated that the ministry is completing the analysis of the judgment of the Court of Appeal and that a communication will be sent “soon” to the network.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116