Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

CPE: access to confirmed asylum seekers

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Quebec has welcomed tens of thousands of asylum seekers in recent years. (Archive photo)

Radio-Canada

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The Court of Appeal confirms the right of asylum seekers to send their children to early childhood centers (CPE) and subsidized daycares in the province. The opposite would be “discriminatory”, according to Quebec’s highest court.

The decision, published Wednesday, confirms the judgment rendered by the Superior Court, which ordered that asylum seekers' access to these childcare services be restored in May 2022. The court thus rejects the Quebec government , who appealed the case a few months later.

The debate surrounding asylum seekers' access to CPE and to subsidized daycares in the province stems from a directive issued by the Liberal government of Philippe Couillard in April 2018 according to which people from this temporary immigration category were not eligible for such services.

The case pitted the State against Bijou Cibuabua Kanyinda, a mother supported by the Commission on Human Rights and Youth Rights.

Denying him access to CPE and subsidized daycares constituted discrimination based on sex, concluded judge Julie Dutil, supported by judges Robert M .Mainville and Benoît Moore.

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The Minister of Families, Suzanne Roy, did not want to comment on the merits of the Court's judgment call on Wednesday, believing that it was still too early to do so.

Theoretically, the Quebec government could ask the Supreme Court of Canada for permission to appeal the judgment. The Minister of Families, Suzanne Roy, however declared on Wednesday that she would first take the time to analyze the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which extends over a forty pages.

We are currently looking at the entire judgment and we will come back to you with the decisions, she declared as she left the weekly meeting of the Legault Cabinet in the afternoon.

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Québec solidaire (QS), for its part, deplored on Wednesday that, rather than to allow women to join the job market, the CAQ [is] stubbornly contesting all the way to the Court of Appeal, with public funds, a decision which was unequivocal and which recognized the rights of the latter.

Let's hope that they will finally accept the conclusions of the judgment, added its deputy spokesperson on immigration matters, Guillaume Cliche-Rivard, in a written statement sent to the media.

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Since 2018, asylum seekers have no longer had access to CPEs and subsidized daycares. (Archive photo)

The waiting list for a place in daycare, subsidized or not, continues to grow in Quebec despite the new places created. The Canadian Press reported last summer that 37,260 children were waiting for a place, or 3,724 more children than in 2022.

Parents with access to CPEs and subsidized daycares in the province pay only $9.10 per day per child. Prices for unsubsidized daycares are much higher, but parents of children who attend them can benefit from significant tax credits from the governments of Quebec and Canada.

At the latest news, Quebec had approximately 160,000 asylum seekers on its territory.

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