Montreal

Quebec to challenge Court of Appeal ruling granting asylum seekers access to daycare

The Legault government has decided to apply for leave to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada, the Family Ministry announced Wednesday. The ruling allows asylum seekers spots in the province's publicly subsidized daycares.

Province files request for a stay ruling on subsidized daycare spots

RCMP officers help a family of asylum seekers with their luggage as they cross the border at Roxham Road from New York into Canada.
Quebec's Court of Appeal ruled on Feb. 7 that asylum seekers are allowed to use subsidized daycare in the province. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

Quebec hopes to appeal a Quebec Court of Appeal ruling which gives access to the province's subsidized daycare system to children of asylum seekers.

The province's Family Ministry said Wednesday that the government will apply for leave to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Quebec's Court of Appeal ruled in a unanimous decision on Feb. 7 that asylum seekers are allowed to use subsidized daycare in the province, upholding a lower court ruling. It said barring them from daycare is discriminatory because it unfairly prevents women from participating in the job market.

The province has filed a request to stay that Appeal Court ruling, until the Supreme Court of Canada renders a judgment to end the debate. It would be a way of maintaining Quebec's ban until the legal battle is over.

But until then, a directive from the Family Ministry Wednesday states that asylum seekers are eligible for subsidized daycare if they have a valid work permit.

The ministry cautions that if a stay is granted, the child of an asylum seeker admitted to a daycare might no longer be allowed to attend "in the very short term."

A statement from the office of Quebec Family Minister Suzanne Roy says the ministry "profoundly disagrees" with the Court of Appeal's ruling that denying asylum seekers access to daycare amounts to discrimination based on sex — a position supported by the province's human rights commission, the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse.

"Quebec will always be one of the most welcoming places in the world. However, we must be realistic and consistent," the statement reads. "The financial and human impacts must be taken into consideration."

Roy also pointed out that anyone living in Quebec can find child care in the private sector, where higher costs are offset by tax breaks from the provincial and federal governments.

WATCH | Quebec says it can't afford to let asylum seekers use subsidized child care: 

Quebec to challenge ruling giving asylum seekers access to subsidized daycare

2 months ago
Duration 1:56
The Quebec government is heading to the Supreme Court of Canada to fight a recent ruling allowing asylum seekers access to subsidized daycare. The province says there aren't enough daycare slots to accommodate newcomers, while human rights activists accuse the province of discrimination.

With files from Radio-Canada's Sébastien Bovet and Sébastien Desrosiers

now