Kuujjuaq gets 60 new childcare spaces

That means a third childcare centre for Nunavik's largest community — but not until 2016

By SARAH ROGERS

The 80-space Iqitauvik childcare centre in Kuujjuaq will expand by 60 spaces by 2016, which means a new childcare centre in Nunavik’s largest community. (PHOTO COURTESY OF NUNAVIKCHILDCARE.CA)


The 80-space Iqitauvik childcare centre in Kuujjuaq will expand by 60 spaces by 2016, which means a new childcare centre in Nunavik’s largest community. (PHOTO COURTESY OF NUNAVIKCHILDCARE.CA)

The Quebec government will fund 60 new childcare spaces in Kuujjuaq this year, the MNA for Ungava announced earlier this week.

That means a third childcare centre in Nunavik’s largest community, where the waiting list for childcare spaces has risen to as high as 90 families this year.

Ungava MNA Jean Boucher announced money for 60 new subsidized spaces under Kuujjuaq’s Iqitauvik childcare centre March 9.

“Today’s announcement is great news for families in the Nunavik region,” Boucher said in a news release.

“With the creation of these additional places, many families in the area will benefit from accessible childcare and high quality.”

Iqitauvik, which means “a place where you get hugged,” currently has 80 spaces — 10 for babies and 70 for children older than 17 months.

The addition of 60 spaces will require a brand-new centre and Kuujjuaq’s municipal council is currently identifying a piece of land for that purpose, said Margaret Gauvin, the director of the Kativik Regional Government’s sustainable employment department, which oversees Nunavik’s childcare centres.

But while the province is already working on the submission process to find an architect and builder for the new centre, Kuujjuaq won’t see the new centre this year.

It’s too late to ship construction materials to the community this year, Gauvin said, but the centre should be completed during the summer of 2016.

The new centre will be the 20th publicly-funded childcare centre in Nunavik, or Centre de la petite enfance (CPE), as these centres are known in Quebec.

The KRG has struggled to keep up with demand for childcare in the region, with requests for a second or third centre in many of its 14 communities.

Currently, the province funds about 1,000 subsidized childcare spaces across the region where families pay just $7.30 a day for care.

And the regional government is fighting to keep it that way in the face of a new provincial plan to hike childcare fees for certain users.

Bill 28, introduced last fall, proposes that Quebec families begin to pay for childcare on a sliding scale in 2016, based on their annual household income.

While the current cost will remain for families with a combined income of less than $55,000, the fee will climb as high as $20 per day for households whose annual income exceeds $150,000.

The KRG council passed a resolution last month asking the province to maintain its current contributions to Nunavik’s childcare program, to keep daily fees at $7.30.

In its release, the Quebec government says it remains committed to maintaining its subsidized childcare program and will continue to add new spaces.

That includes 6,000 new spaces across the province in 2014-2015 and then 4,000 spaces a year, until, Quebec says, “the network is completed.”

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