How to get a spot in a $7 a day daycare

Posted by Saraline , Tuesday, May 25, 2010 6:16 PM

We have subsidized daycares in Quebec that charge $7 a day. That's fantastic. A $7 daycare is a wonderful lifeline for low-income families. But how do you get a spot in one?

If you're a parent in Montreal, you know how long the waiting lists are. They can be anywhere from two to four years long. Some people put their names on waiting lists as soon as they find out that they're pregnant. They call the daycares up and say, "Okay, I peed on a stick, can I put my name on the waiting list please?"

I recently found myself in a difficult position when I decided that I was going back to school. I had my son's name on waiting lists in my neighbourhood, but now I'm moving to a different town to be closer to my school. This was not something that I had anticipated when I was pregnant, so I was not on any of the waiting lists there. I put my son on the waiting lists for the $7 daycares in the area before I had even received my acceptance letter. It looked like there was absolutely no way that my son would get into one of these daycares before I started school in September.

I started looking for private and home daycares. A lot of them seem to charge $25-35 a day, but there is a tax credit available for people who are unable to find a spot in a subsidized daycare. All of the non-subsidized daycares that I found were also full.

So what's a single mom returning to school supposed to do? How do you find a daycare?

I went to the CLSC and asked to speak with a social worker. A nurse spoke with me and I told her about my situation. She said that she would speak to the social worker who works with the daycares and get back to me. She called me back today and told me that the social worker had found a spot for my son in a $7 a day home daycare close to my school.

Some of the $7 a day daycares are required to keep emergency spots open. The daycare directors are not allowed to fill these spots without a reference from another organization such as the CLSC. If you are desperate for daycare and low-income, you may be eligible for one of these emergency spots. I strongly encourage you to see a social worker or a nurse at your local CLSC if this is your situation. The CLSC has many resources that are there to help people; use these resources.

Since we're on the subject of daycares, I visited Whiteside Taylor in Baie-D'Urfé last week. Whiteside Taylor is another $7 a day daycare. It's in a beautiful location and it looks great, but it has a four to five year waiting list. The director wants to open another daycare; she has the funding and she's ready to go. The only roadblocks for this new daycare opening are politicians. If you live in the West Island and you think that the director of Whiteside Taylor should be allowed to open another daycare, contact this person and tell him:

Geoffrey Kelley
Place Scotia
620, boulevard Saint-Jean
Bureau 206
Pointe-Claire, Quebec
H94 3K2
Telephone: (514) 697-7663
Fax: (514) 697-6499
gkelley@assnat.qc.ca

3 Response to "How to get a spot in a $7 a day daycare"

Ms.Marx Says:

These waiting lists are not unique to Quebec's amazing childcare system... In Ontario, we pay $36 per day (or more for children under 18 months), and I was on a wait list for 3 1/2 years to get my children into their current daycare. Here as well, there is the desire to open new daycares and more spots, but politicians are making it difficult. They actually closed down the daycare at the local college because it wasn't profiting enough, and the university's daycare closes at 5:30 despite mandatory classes ending at 6:00, 7:00 and even 10:00pm.`

Melaina25 Says:

I'm starting a Feminist Moms round up! Spread the Word: http://tinyurl.com/FemMom

Laurel Says:

Feminist Mom,

I just want to say a big Thank You / Merci to you! I've just arrived in Montreal with my 18 month old son and navigating this new world is challenging.

The realistic, practical positivity in your blog is helping me to stay focussed.

I'm unemployed / job-searching and my partner is at university. I am just looking for a daycare space for my son and it's not easy. I found a $7 space - (not that I'm sure I'm eligible as I've just returned to Canada after 7 years abroad in the UK) - but it was in a very tiny apartment with no outdoor space. I can't leave him there.

So, the hunt continues! I will continue to read your blog for advice and inspiration.

Merci encore.

Laurel