MONTREAL – Quebec family support organizations report that their funding is still not available this year, putting their services at risk at a time of increased needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Government funding, generally paid in a first installment at the beginning of April, is late, which increasingly worries the Quebec Federation of Community Family Organizations (FQOCF) and the Federation of Single Parent Family Associations. and recomposed from Quebec (FAFMRQ).
The director general of the FAFMRQ, Sylvie Levesque, detailed an administrative labyrinth involving the Ministry of the Family and the Treasury Board, which keeps no less than 280 community organizations on their toes.
“We have other things to do than wait for the funding. The groups are there to meet the needs of families, not to worry all the time about the arrival of the money,” said Levesque.
The COVID-19 crisis has been particularly hard on families, who have at times been cut off from their support network during school and daycare closures.
The FAFMRQ and its forty members denounce a lack of predictability that could soon compromise their support services.
The FQOCF agrees, stressing that the financial situation of organizations is already precarious.
“There is therefore an urgent need to act in order to ensure the maintenance of the social security net around the thousands of families who benefit from the services of the 280 OPF in all regions of Quebec”, declared the president Sylvianne Poiriera in a statement. communicated.
The federation indicates that it is in contact with the Ministry of Family Affairs to receive the sums due as soon as possible.
Minister Mathieu Lacombe’s office said work is underway to improve funding with an investment of $ 85 million over five years.
“Last November, the Minister of Family Affairs announced a complete review of the support program for community organizations,” said Lacombe’s press secretary.
In an email to The Canadian Press, Antoine de la Durantaye said that “everything should be finished in the next few weeks”, without providing a more precise schedule of expected payments.
Although the delays resulted from a desire to increase their funding, an advance should have been made in the meantime, Levesque said.
“No matter how many checks we receive, the important thing is to receive them,” she said, noting that some organizations are now required to apply for lines of credit.
This is the case of the Association of parents of students of Côte-des-Neiges in Montreal.
“After this paycheck, that’s all, I won’t have any more money in the account,” said director Awatef Simou. “We cannot work for free. There are employees with families, there is rent to pay.”
In a telephone interview on Sunday, Simou said she was still in the dark about the next check – her only recurring source of funding.
“We cannot afford to delay the funding,” she said. “We just can’t. Is it a matter of signing documents? Is it bureaucracy? We don’t know what’s going on.”
According to Levesque, the funds are expected to materialize by mid-June, if not the end of the month, with at least two and a half months late.
“They’re giving us a bonus, thank you, that’s good, but at least ensuring the basic payments!” said Simou.
The announced increase is expected to bring annual funding for community family support organizations to $ 130,000, compared to the current average of $ 80,000 to $ 90,000, according to FAFMRQ figures.
At the time of the announcement last fall, Minister Lacombe said he was aligned with the first recommendations of the Laurent Commission on the Rights of the Child and Youth Protection.
The Commission has requested a minimum annual funding of $ 200,000, a recommendation also found in its final report, tabled this month.
– this report by La Presse canadienne was first published in French on May 23, 2021.