Public Health Agency says Quebec Family Policy has led to Lower Poverty Rates

Aug 06, 2008

The Public Health Agency of Canada has credited Quebec's universal and affordable child care program as a poverty reduction tool. From the Public Health Agency of Canada:

Focus on Poverty - Quebec's Family Policy

Quebec’s Family Policy was put in place in 1997. It includes an integrated child allowance, enhanced maternity and parental leave, extended benefits for self-employed women, and subsidized early childhood education and child care services. Through this policy, the province has been able to establish a network of child care centres for children aged four years and younger from existing non-profit daycare centres and home agencies. The centres offer low-cost care and are no cost for parents on social assistance. Elementary schools in the public system also provide low-cost before- and after-school care and full-day kindergarten is provided to all five-year-olds.220, 221 In addition, some school boards offer full-day kindergarten to four-year-olds from low-income families. Since 1997, Quebec’s steady decline in poverty rates has resulted in the greatest overall decrease among provinces resulting in a 2005 child poverty rate lower than the national average.213 While much of this decline is due to economic growth, government policies are also believed to have contributed to lower poverty rates.217

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