Thalia Adams


Starting November 22-25, thousands of daycare workers in Quebec are going on strike and walking off the job after a failure to agree on establishing higher salaries for early childhood educators.

In Quebec, daycare workers have struggled for more than a year and a half in the attempt to get a government contract. But on Monday, the government was willing to compromise and offer an increase in hourly pay under the conditions that daycare workers would have to work between 32 and 26 hours every week, making this an increase of 20%. Workers would also be able to receive and an increase of 30% if they are able to work 40 hours every week.

Currently, educators in Quebec receive hourly pay of $19 an hour and can earn a maximum of $25.18.

This increase does not apply to support staff, which includes those working in administrative, kitchen and maintenance. But the government added that they can add a maximum 9% increase to their hourly pays, and stated that any higher than that is deemed unfair for other city employees who have the same job, but in other sectors.

Sonia LeBel, President of Quebec’s Treasury Board says it is unfair for parents to be held “hostage” in this situation, where workers are on strike, and meetings/talks are ongoing.

One parent says that this whole issue has put a lot of pressure on her due to the difficulty of finding arrangements for her child while the strike persists. She says that as the days pass, it gets harder for her to keep up. She admits that the strike is putting a toll on her financially, as she is now having to hire a babysitter, costing her extra money.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, promises a change for Quebec while rebuilding from the pandemic. “Our plan for more affordable early learning and childcare across Canada will leave no family and no child behind.” Trudeau says that he has already signed agreements to make affordable changes for quality childcare in Canadian provinces.

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Valerie Grenon, president of FIPEQ, says that the government was not open to the idea of a pay increase for childcare workers. Instead, adopting a $50 bonus per week would be more appropriate rather than increased hourly pay.

Due to the labour shortage, the government is looking to implement a 5-day work week that consists of 40 hours, rather than the current 4-day workweek that is between 32-36 hours.

The government is agreeing to make changes for childcare workers, but, childcare workers that are on strike are upset that their specific needs for an increased salary are not being met.

One childcare worker says that there are many issues that she, along with other workers encounter. And explains why going on strike should not go unnoticed. “We are constantly worried for our own health and safety as well as that of our families… the pay is mediocre at best and the hours are long… we genuinely feel guilt calling in sick because we are already short on staff… we feel burnt out, worried and frustrated that the economy is more important than us.”

Unions say that if there is no progress in coming to a consensus, they will push for an unlimited general strike until there is a settled provincial agreement.







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