Universal childcare program might wish to avoid.

Daycare quality – Garderies - CPE

The $7-a-day government-run province-wide daycare is a focal point of family policy in Québec.

So is Québec’s daycare system an example or an experiment?

Some studies would suggest Québec’s system is more the latter—even though the results are not yet fully in. This is particularly true of the level of quality being realized—a key element in any daycare program.

The fact remains that universal, government-financed daycare makes sense only when the level of care is high. Therefore, with regards to Québec, the only province to have a provincial daycare plan, some questions remain, such as:

1.      Is the level of care high in Québec’s program?

2.      And are the outcomes commensurate with the costs borne by taxpayers?

Sadly, early evidence provided by Québec’s government suggests the benefits do not justify the costs

·         As seen in the 2004 report, Grandir en qualité, published by l’Institut de la statistique du Québec, which showed that the quality of child care was poor.

·         In December 2005, another study, this time from the Institute for Research on Public Policy, claimed 61% of daycares were of minimal quality and not meeting learning needs; 12% were inadequate—meaning they were worse than minimal quality—and 27% were of good or higher quality.

·         And a study published in 2005 by economists Michael Baker, Jonathan Gruber and Kevin Milligan found that the Québec daycare system doesn’t provide the promised outcomes.

While the intent of the study was not to assess daycare quality in Québec directly, the authors found that the outcomes do not reflect a success story.

The authors comment that

children were worse off in the years following
the introduction of the universal childcare program.”

They continued:

“We studied a wide range of measures of child well-being, from anxiety and hyperactivity to social and motor skills. For almost every measure, we find that the increased use of childcare was associated with a decrease in their well-being relative to other children.”

Perhaps more telling was a 2011 paper by economists, Pierre Lefebvre, Philip Merrigan and Francis Roy- Desrosiers, which shows that the daycare system does not improve learning outcomes for children.

Our evidence does not reveal positive effects of the policy on cognitive development for both 4-and 5-year olds,”

the authors write.

Lefebvre was quoted in the press at the time of the report’s release, as saying

There is a serious quality problem. I would go as far as to say that daycare quality is very low, both in terms of educators’ formation and in terms of the quality of interactions between educators and children.”

One impact of this universal daycare system is that more children in Québec are in care for longer periods of time.

A Statistics Canada report shows that in 1994/95, prior to the creation of the system, 57% of Québec children in daycare centres were there full-time (30 or more hours a week). By 2002/03, that statistic increased to 76%.

This may present a reason for concern as other research indicates that the length of time in care below the age of one can have negative effects on attachment, regardless of the quality of care.

Most Québec children are not in full-time care under the age of one. Still, for some children even older than one, 30 or more hours in institutional care per week will create stress and attachment problems.

Whether or not Québec children are spending more time in care, the fact remains that the new system created a spike in the number of children seen in institutional daycare. The chart above shows how centre-based care rapidly became the popular option after the creation of the government system—a significant change in how Québecers care for their children.

Quebec - Primary care arrangements of children

All of which suggests that Québec’s universal daycare system has been less successful in delivering high quality care than is claimed by advocates.

And it may have serious unintended outcomes that other jurisdictions might wish to avoid.

Table des matières

A Québec family portrait

Indice de fécondité et qualité de l’éducation

Positive trends

Québec’s fertility rate is increasing – INDICE DE FÉCONDITÉ

Québec’s education outcomes – QUALITÉ DE L’ÉDUCATION

Croissance par endettement

Québec weathered the recent recession better than other provinces:

Croissance par endettement

Les taux d’impôts et de taxes sont élevés

Worrisome trends

Tax rates are high:

Marriage rates are low:

Cohabitation rates are high relative to other provinces and countries:

A “demographic winter” is coming - Une démographie catastrophique

A “demographic winter” is coming:

Personne active du Québec

Québec Droite sans lunette rose

Solde migratoire

Les québécois prennent leurs retraites plus tôt,

Seuil critique, peut-être 2020 ?

Building Québec’s welfare state

Building Québec’s welfare state – the historical background

Economic and tax issues: Funding the system

The Québec tax system

Transfer payments is not sustainable over the long term

Transfer payments

Ce que les Anglais pensent du Québec


La contestation

1. Programmes trop généreux

2. Ne règle pas les problèmes économiques

3. La crise économique, elle est de plus en plus contestée

Québec’s growing public debt

Québec - Budget 2011 : Dette publique

Family policy overview

The initial phase: Pre-1997

1997 and beyond

Une politique familiale inefficace et coûteuse.

The addition of parental insurance in 2006 – Congés parentaux

Les congés parentaux un programme ruineux

Les coûts :

Les résultats :

Qui en profite ?

Les conséquences :

Examining the impact of Québec family policy Fertility – Politique familliale

Universal childcare program might wish to avoid

Daycare quality – Garderies - CPE

Historique des CPE

2006, Étude sur les Garderies Universels

Les CPE ont échoué sur le plan pédagogique... comportemental et démographique

Les motivations et conséquences économiques des garderies à 7 $

Working in Québec

La liberté économique de plus en plus restreinte

High school dropout rates

Relationships and family form


The situation facing Québec society and families

The Québec story: Short term gain/long term pain?


La source du problème

Politiciens ayant un sens moral douteux

Acheter des votes

Le cancer de la démocratie : les groupes d’intérêts

L’historique Québécoise

L’immobilisme du Québec

A quand le mur?