The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) has successfully intervened to prevent the closure of a prominent Montreal workplace daycare centre, scoring a significant victory for the families of public service workers and PSAC’s national child care campaign.
The Guy Favreau Complex centre de la petite enfance (CPE) was one of the first day care centres established under a federal government initiative designed to make child care more easily available to federal employees and other parents.
The Guy Favreau Child Care Centre was going to have to close its doors after Employment and Social Development Canada withdrew its departmental sponsorship, prompting the Department of Public Services and Procurement to raise the Centre’s annual rent from 0$ to $190,000. Such an increase could not be covered by increasing parent fees because in Quebec such fees are capped by law to make child care more affordable.
PSAC worked hand in hand for nearly two years with parents and the daycare’s administration to lobby Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) to work out a funding agreement that would save the centre.
“The fight to keep this daycare centre open is an integral part of our national child care campaign,” said Robyn Benson, PSAC National President. “It is a testament to our determination to expand access to affordable child care for PSAC employees and all Canadian parents.”
Because of the political pressure brought to bear through PSAC’s coalition efforts, federal and provincial funds have been secured to finance the rent subsidy for 2017 and 2018. However, PSAC continues to push the government to create a long-term solution and a broader policy change so that the Guy Favreau centre and other subsidized workplace daycares have a secure future. Also, PSAC wants the federal government to expand the number of child care centres located in federal facilities across the country. This is a key issue for the newly formed Treasury Board/PSAC Joint Committee on Child Care, established through the last round of bargaining.
Offering affordable, sustainable child care programs is critical to ensuring parents are able to participate in the paid workforce.
PSAC’s national child care campaign calls for the federal government to build a quality, affordable child care system that all families can access wherever they live. The 2017 federal budget made a commitment to long-term funding for early learning and child care, but there is still considerable work ahead.