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Subsidized daycare: New study examines factors driving Quebec’s exceptionalism

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Institute for Research on Public Policy
Publication Date: 
17 Apr 2018



Under Quebec’s daycare program, established by a Parti québécois government in 1997, the fee paid by parents was initially $5 a day for each child. “Quebec has been a leader among provinces in this field, spending on average $4,800 per year for each child age five and under in 2013-2014. Compared to other provinces, Manitoba was a distant second at $1,648 per child,” say the study’s authors, Gabriel Arsenault, Olivier Jacques and Antonia Maioni.

Based on a critical survey of the literature, they identify three key factors to explain Quebec’s distinct path: the presence of a progressive government as a proponent, a less polarized party system, and a broad consensus among political parties and civil society actors that child care is a provincial responsibility.


They acknowledge that as party systems evolve in some provinces and the attitudes towards publicly funded child care change, Quebec’s exceptionalism might not last.