This guide provides an overview of all government programs and services available to new and future parents.

You can also consult the guide From Tiny Tot to Toddler (PDF 10.83 Mb) published by the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ). It contains the chapter “Becoming a parent: Government programs and services.”

Health and Social Services

Financial Assistance for Pregnant Minors

The Pregnant Minors Financial Assistance Program grants monthly financial assistance to pregnant minors with no financial resources to help ensure their health and the health of their unborn child. The assistance is granted as of the 20th week of pregnancy.

Social Assistance and Social Solidarity: Three Special Benefits

  • Special pregnancy benefit
  • Special nursing benefit
  • Special benefit for the purchase of infant formula

A recipient under the Social Assistance or Social Solidarity program who is pregnant (or a recipient who has a dependent child who is pregnant) is eligible for a special pregnancy benefit in addition to the basic monthly benefit.

A recipient under the Social Assistance or Social Solidarity program who is pregnant and breastfeeding may be granted a special nursing benefit to help her buy healthy food so as to promote her own health and the health of her baby. In addition to the special nursing benefit, a special benefit for the purchase of infant formula may be granted if the recipient has a child under 1 year of age or a child under 1 year of age under their care.

Prenatal Nutrition: OLO Program

The OLO program helps pregnant women adopt healthy eating habits. It allows low-income women to obtain essential food items and vitamin and mineral supplements for free starting from the 12th week of pregnancy.

Public Mothers’ Milk Bank This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Operated by Héma-Québec

This milk bank allows nursing mothers who produce surplus milk to donate milk so that pasteurized human milk can be provided to preterm babies born at or before 32 weeks’ gestation.

Blood and Urine Screening in Newborns

Blood and urine samples are taken in newborns to screen for rare diseases so that medical treatment can be provided quickly and the potential for serious complications are minimized.

Registering for the Public Health Insurance Plan This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Administered by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec

Parents who filled out the Application for Simplified Access to Birth-related Government Programs and Services do not have to do anything else in order to register their child for the Québec Health Insurance Plan. However, if the child was born outside Québec or was adopted, the parents must contact the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec in order to register the child for the plan.

Registering for the Public Prescription Drug Insurance Plan This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Administered by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec

If a parent has prescription drug coverage under a private group insurance plan, they must include their child under the plan.

Parents who are registered with the Public Prescription Drug Insurance Plan do not have to register their child if the child was born in Québec. However, if the child was born outside Québec or was adopted, they must contact the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec in order to register the child for the plan.

Prenatal Meetings and Classes – Finding a CLSC
Administered by the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux

Prenatal classes provide future parents with general information about pregnancy, labour, delivery, breastfeeding and newborn care. It is generally possible to register for a class at a local community services centre (CLSC) starting from the 12th week of pregnancy.

Midwifery Services

Midwives are health professionals who provide primary care and services for normal pregnancies, during delivery and up to 6 weeks after birth.

Services for Young Families Experiencing Financial Problems
Administered by the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux – CLSC

Integrated perinatal and early childhood services are designed to support families living in poverty or vulnerable situations. The goal of the services is to maximize the prospective health and well-being of parents, future newborns and children aged 0 to 5 years.

To receive these services, contact the local community services centre (CLSC) for your region.

Vaccination of Children

Vaccination remains the most effective way to protect children against certain contagious diseases. It is important to follow the immunization schedule.

As soon as your child is 2 months old, you can get him or her vaccinated at a local community services centre (CLSC) or the doctor’s office.

Labour

Absence Owing to Family or Parental Obligations This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Information from the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail

An employee may be absent from work to fulfil obligations relating to the care of his or her child or the child of his or her spouse. In general, employees are entitled to a set number of days of paid or unpaid absence. The employee must notify the employer of their absence as soon as possible.

Leave for a Birth or an Adoption This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Information from the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail

Both parents may be absent from work for 5 days at the birth or adoption of a child. If the mother is already on maternity leave, she cannot take the leave for a birth or adoption as well.

Maternity Leave This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Information from the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail

Pregnant employees are entitled to a maternity leave without pay for a maximum of 18 consecutive weeks. The employee may spread the maternity leave as she wishes before or after the expected date of delivery.

The maternity leave may not begin before the 16th week preceding the expected date of delivery and may not end later than 18 weeks after the week of delivery. However, where the maternity leave begins on the week of delivery, that week is not taken into account in calculating the maximum period of 18 consecutive weeks.

Paternity Leave This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Information from the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail

An employee is entitled to a paternity leave of 5 consecutive weeks, without pay, on the birth of his child. The leave may not begin before the week of the birth of the child and may not end later than 52 weeks after the week of the birth.

Parental Leave This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Information from the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail

Each parent of a newborn or a newly adopted child is entitled to parental leave without pay of up to 52 weeks. The parental leave is in addition to the maternity leave and the paternity leave.

Leave for the Termination of Pregnancy This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Information from the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail

Both parents, if they are salaried employees, may be absent from work for 5 days where there is a termination of pregnancy in or after the 20th week of pregnancy.

Prohibited Practices on the Part of the Employer This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Information from the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST)

An employee who believes she has been the victim of a sanction (suspension, transfer, dismissal), discriminatory measure or reprisals on the ground that she is pregnant may file a complaint with the CNESST within 45 days following the occurrence of the practice complained of.

For a Safe Maternity Experience Program This hyperlink will open in a new window. (in French only)
Administered by the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail

The For a Safe Maternity Experience preventive program is intended to allow pregnant or nursing workers to continue working without risks. A pregnant or nursing worker is entitled to safe working conditions or to be immediately re-assigned to other duties involving no risks that she is reasonably capable of performing.

Québec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Administered by the Ministère du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale

The Québec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) is set up to pay benefits to all eligible workers taking maternity leave, paternity leave, parental leave or adoption leave. The QPIP is an income replacement plan: to be eligible, you must have received work income.

Before applying for benefits, it is important to know the specific terms and conditions applicable to your worker status:

Justice and Civil Status

Parental Authority This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Information from the Ministère de la Justice

Parental authority covers all the rights and duties parents have towards their children under 18 years of age. Parents continue to exercise parental authority even after a separation.

A Child’s First and Last Names This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Information from the Directeur de l’état civil

Parents may give their child more than one first name and a single or compound last name.

Declaration of a Birth This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Administered by the Directeur de l’état civil

The birth of a child must be declared to the Directeur de l'état civil. There is no cost if it is done within 30 days following the birth. The birth may be declared by completing the paper form provided by the hospital or birth centre staff, or by completing the form using the online service.

Application for Simplified Access to Birth-Related Government Programs and Services This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Administered by the Directeur de l’état civil

The Directeur de l’état civil will notify specific Québec and federal government departments and agencies of the birth of a child where the parents complete the Application for Simplified Access to Birth-Related Government Programs and Services. This form is inserted in the paper Declaration of Birth form or included with the Electronic Declaration of Birth online service.

By completing the application, parents can take advantage of the programs and services offered without having to take other steps.

Certificate or Copy of an Act of Birth This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Administered by the Directeur de l’état civil

Certificates and copies of acts serve as proof of a child’s birth. They are required in order to register a child in a childcare centre or day care centre, for example. A certificate or copy of an act of birth may be obtained once the birth has been entered in the Québec register of civil status.

Grandparents’ Visiting Rights This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Information from Éducaloi

Parents cannot stop grandchildren from having a relationship with their grandparents, unless there is a serious reason. If it is difficult or impossible for grandparents to see their grandchildren because the parents are not allowing it, the grandparents can ask the court to grant them access rights.

Filiation This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Information from the Ministère de la Justice

Filiation is the relationship that exists between children and their parents. The relationship can be established by blood, assisted reproduction or an adoption judgment. Once filiation has been established, it creates rights and obligations for both the child and the parents, including by virtue of parental authority.

Register of Cree and Naskapi Beneficiaries
Administered by the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux

This government register grants rights and benefits to the people enrolled as beneficiaries.

To enrol a newborn who meets the eligibility requirements set out in the Act respecting Cree, Inuit and Naskapi Native persons, contact the local registry officer for the community of affiliation.

However, if you completed the Application for Simplified Access to Birth-Related Government Programs and Services provided with the declaration of birth, the officer will contact you directly to enrol your newborn in the register. The application form is inserted in the paper Declaration of Birth form or included with the Electronic Declaration of Birth online service.

To find out more about the register, contact Services Québec This hyperlink will open in a new window. or your community of affiliation.

Tutorship to Minors This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Information from the Curateur public

Tutorship to minors is a legal mechanism for protecting children until the age of 18. Most of the time, the parents are their child’s legal tutor, that is, they look after the child’s physical well-being and protect the child’s property. In some cases, however, tutorship may be exercised by someone other than the parents.

Tax Credits

Family Allowance This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Administered by Retraite Québec

The family allowance payment is a form of financial assistance paid to eligible families with a dependent child under 18 years of age. Each year, the amount of the family allowance payment is determined on the basis of the number of dependent children, the number of children in shared custody, the type of family and the family income.

In the case of a birth in Québec, no application is required in order to receive family allowance payments. The child is automatically signed up when the birth is declared to the Directeur de l’état civil.

Tax Credit for Childcare Expenses This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Administered by Revenu Québec

Certain childcare expenses give entitlement to the tax credit for childcare expenses. The amount of the tax credit varies with family income.  Childcare expenses that do not qualify for the tax credit include the reduced contribution paid for subsidized childcare services.

Tax Credit for Adoption Expenses This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Administered by Revenu Québec

Adoptive parents can claim the refundable tax credit for adoption expenses subject to certain conditions.

Tax Credit for the Treatment of Infertility This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Administered by Revenu Québec

Subject to certain conditions, a person can claim a refundable tax credit for expenses related to an in vitro fertilization treatment that enables the person or the person’s spouse to have a child.

Education

Québec Education Savings Incentive This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Administered by Revenu Québec

The Québec education savings incentive is a tax measure that encourages Québec families to start saving early for the post-secondary education of their children and grandchildren. This measure consists of a refundable tax credit that is paid directly into a registered education savings plan (RESP).

Ma place au soleil This hyperlink will open in a new window.

The Ma place au soleil program allows low-income parents under 25 years of age to finish high school, get a diploma and find a job in an occupation for which there is a high demand for workers. Counselling and support services may also be provided.

Loans and Bursaries Program for Full-Time Studies This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Administered by the Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur

A full-time student who is pregnant may be eligible for financial assistance under the Loans and Bursaries Program. To be deemed a full-time student, she must be enrolled in at least 20 course hours a month and be at least 20 weeks pregnant. The financial assistance is paid as a loan, to which a bursary may be added.

A student receiving financial assistance under the Loans and Bursaries Program must notify Aide financière aux études (AFE) as soon as possible after any change to their situation using the AFE online services This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Loans and Bursaries Program for Part-Time Studies This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Administered by the Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur

A part-time student who is pregnant may be eligible for financial assistance under the Loans Program for Part-Time Studies. She will be deemed a full-time student if she is enrolled in at least 20 course hours a month and is at least 20 weeks pregnant or if she lives with a child under 6 years of age.

A student receiving financial assistance under the Loans and Bursaries Program must notify Aide financière aux études (AFE) as soon as possible after any change to their situation using the AFE online services This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Postponement of Repayment of a Student Loan Debt This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Administered by the Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur

Normally, anyone who received a loan from Aide financière aux études must start repaying the debt following the end of their studies or if they interrupt their studies for longer than 6 months. However, repayment of the student loan may be postponed where there is an interruption of studies as of the 20th week of pregnancy or following the birth or adoption of a child.

Childcare Services

Services Agreement Between Parents and the Childcare Provider This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Information from the Ministère de la Famille

The Ministère de la Famille proposes a subsidized childcare services agreement template that allows the establishment of clear guidelines between childcare providers and the parents using their services. The use of these agreement templates is mandatory for subsidized childcare services, except home childcare providers. 

Administration of Medication by Childcare Providers This hyperlink will open in a new window. (in French only)
Information from the Ministère de la Famille

Childcare providers must comply with rules respecting the keeping, administration and labelling of medication. They may not administer any medication to a child receiving childcare unless authorized in writing by the parent and, in some cases, by a health care professional authorized by law to prescribe the medication.

Reduced-Contribution Program This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Administered by the Ministère de la Famille

Under the Reduced Contribution Program, parents pay a lower rate for childcare services. Reduced-contribution spaces are offered by childcare centres (CLEs), subsidized day care centres and home childcare providers to which subsidized spaces have been assigned.

La Place 0-5 This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Service offered by the Coopérative Enfance Famille

La Place 0-5 is the sole gateway to recognized childcare spaces in Québec. Such spaces are offered by childcare centres (CLEs), day care centres and home childcare providers.

Childcare Providers
Information from the Ministère de la Famille

There are two types of childcare providers:

A recognized childcare provider holds a permit issued by the Ministère de la Famille or is recognized by a home childcare coordinating office.

Not all childcare providers need to be recognized in order to provide childcare services.  

Adoption in Québec

Adoption of a Child Born in Québec This hyperlink will open in a new window.

A person wishing to adopt a child can apply for regular adoption, adoption under the Banque mixte program, or both.

Regular adoption applies to children whose parents have placed them up for adoption at birth, abandoned children or children that are orphaned at a very young age.

Adoption under the Banque mixte program involves children who have been entrusted to a foster family by the Director of Youth Protection (DYP) in order to be adopted.

If you want to adopt a child born in Québec, you must register with CISSS or CIUSSS adoption services in your region. To find contact information for the adoption services in your region, go to the CISSS and CIUSSS offering protection and rehabilitation services for youth in trouble of adaptation contact information This hyperlink will open in a new window. section.

Special Consent to Adoption
Information from the Ministère de la Justice

Adoption by special consent allows the parent(s) of a child under 18 to specify to whom, whether a person or a couple, they give consent to adopt their child. Consent may be given only to a close relative of the child or to the mother’s or father’s new spouse. 

An application for placement with a view to adoption by special consent must be filed with the Youth Division This hyperlink will open in a new window. of the Court of Québec.

Adoption Procedure This hyperlink will open in a new window.

Adopting a child who resides in Québec involves various steps that take into account the best interests of the child and the adoptive family. For example, prospective adopters must register with CISSS or CIUSSS adoption services in their region, attend an information session and undergo a psychosocial assessment.

Researching Information on Your Parents of Origin or Your Adopted Child This hyperlink will open in a new window.

Adoptees and children up for adoption can search for their biological parents or obtain information relating to the identity of their biological parents. However, the biological parents may want their identity to remain confidential.

It is also possible, subject to certain conditions, for biological parents to obtain information on a child they gave up for adoption.

Adoptees may also obtain information on their family and medical antecedents (origins, medical information, etc.) that, by law, may be communicated. Adoptive parents can obtain a summary of information about an adopted child and an adopted child’s biological parents can obtain a summary of information about the adoptive parents.

Contacting Parents, Brothers and Sisters of Origin or an Adopted Child This hyperlink will open in a new window.

Subject to certain conditions, adoptees have the right to obtain information allowing them to contact their parents of origin or their brothers or sisters.

Similarly, the parents of origin of an adopted person have the right, subject to certain conditions, to obtain information allowing them to find their child.

Recognition of Pre-Existing Bonds of Filiation  This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Information from the Ministère de la Justice

Recognition of pre-existing bonds of filiation between an adopted child and the child’s biological parents is possible where authorized by the court.

The names of the biological parents can then be included on the adoptee’s act of birth, if so desired.

Adoption Outside Québec (interprovincial or international)

Adoption Process This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Administered by the Secrétariat à l’adoption internationale

The process for adopting a child who is domiciled elsewhere in Canada or in another country involves a number of steps and formalities that take into account the best interests of the child and are in accordance with the laws in effect.

All interprovincial and international adoptions must be authorized by the Secrétariat à l’adoption internationale.

Research Into Family Origins This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Administered by the Secrétariat à l’adoption internationale

Some people may want to know more about their adoption or the adoption their child in another province or country. Others may even want to find their parent of origin or a child who was adopted, as the case may be.

The following requests can be made:

  • Information about the primary identity of the adopted person and the identity of his or her parents of origin
  • Summary of family and medical antecedents
  • Reunions

Post-Adoption Services This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Information from the Secrétariat à l’adoption internationale

Parents who adopt a child through international adoption have access to various services to assist them and provide advice as soon as the child arrives in Québec (e.g. visit from a caseworker, doctor’s appointment).

To receive post-adoption services, you must first confirm the following dates with the Secrétariat à l’adoption internationale This hyperlink will open in a new window.:

  • The date the child arrived in Canada
  • The date the child was entrusted to you

Other Topics

Mon arbre à moi This hyperlink will open in a new window. (in French only)
Administered by the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs

As part of the Mon arbre à moi campaign, every child born or adopted during the year receives a tree seedling that grows along with the child. The seedling comes with a growth chart and a souvenir card. Parents must register their child in order to receive a seedling.

Child Safety Seats This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Information from the Société d’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ)

Choosing and using a car seat involves numerous safety precautions and verifications. To make sure their child is completely safe, parents need to purchase a quality car seat that complies with the standards in effect.

For example, it is important to know that children aboard a moving vehicle must be in a car seat adapted to their weight and height until they are 145 cm tall or 9 years of age. A car seat inspection service is offered free of charge so that parents can make sure the car seat they use meets the current safety standards.

Note that child and family benefits are also paid by the Government of Canada.

Child and Family Benefits Paid by the Government of Canada This hyperlink will open in a new window.