The requirements are lower to work in some school child care services: not only is it no longer necessary to have been trained for the job, but it is no longer even required to have a minimum of experience with the children. A secondary 5 diploma is sufficient.

This is the case at the Montreal school service center, which has indeed posted a “novelty” in its job offers recently, a “temporary measure to alleviate the shortage of staff”, we read. With only one secondary 5 diploma, you can be hired in a school daycare service.

After the pandemic, hiring requirements decreased “because of the shortage”, observes the president of the Association québécoise de la garde scolaire.

“Yes, there are some who require only a secondary 4, or no experience. It’s really variable geometry,” explains Réjeanne Brodeur, who adds that each service center “does what it wants.”

There are currently 450 educators to be found, notes the president of the Quebec Federation of Education Establishment Directors (FQDE), which is based on the most recent figures from the Ministry of Education.

“That means we have to find people who may not have [the required training], but also cut hours, change the schedule, reduce the number of groups. There are schools where the oldest do not have access to daycare. We’re short of people,” says Nicolas Prévost.

As a result, daycare providers sometimes take matters into their own hands. Recently, the La Mennais school in the Montreal district of Petite-Patrie asked parents for help in trying to find someone to take care of a young student with a disability in the evenings after school.

At the Montreal School Service Center (CSSDM), we respond that we have “the same challenges” as elsewhere in terms of staff shortages in childcare services. “Despite this difficulty, service to students and parents is maintained,” writes spokesperson Alain Perron.

As for the appeal launched by the La Mennais school, it specifies that the young pupil attends a specialized school which does not offer childcare and that to “give service to the parents, the girl could benefit from childcare”. .

Some service centers in the province still have the same skill requirements for daycare educators. You must therefore hold a 5th year secondary school diploma, but also have a certificate of professional studies in childcare. A first aid course is also required.

President of the Federation of School Support Staff (FPSS-CSQ), Éric Pronovost also notes that it is “very random” from one CSS to another.

But “yes, more and more, we are using unqualified educators,” he says.

He believes that the labor shortage can be solved by increasing the hours of educators, whose days are often made up of shifts in the morning, noon and at the end of the day.

Quebec has indeed set up a pilot project of “classroom aids”, which not only allows teachers to have an adult in their class to help them, but whose avowed objective is to give more hours of work for educators.

Eventually, the government wants there to be 4,000 of these “classroom aids” in schools across the province.

Could this help make the job of a child care worker more attractive? At the FQDE, we see another problem looming on the horizon.

Instead of having, for example, five hours of work divided into several shifts in a day, educators who have become classroom assistants can work shifts of five consecutive hours.

“Thinking of finding a solution, we will create another problem,” said Mr. Prévost, who added that he warned the Ministry of Education that the two jobs must be linked.

In the meantime, should we be concerned about the quality of services offered to students? “The children are not in danger. You have to love children to be with 20 children around us,” says Réjeanne Brodeur of the Association québécoise de la garde scolaire.