District Services Board announces new low rates for daycare

MANITOULIN—The Manitoulin-Sudbury District Services Board (DSB) has developed a standard set of child care rates which will mean some financial relief to parents who use DSB-approved daycare services.

DSB CAO Fern Dominelli explained that under new provincial legislation, daycares must now be open a minimum of 12 hours per day and should they choose to stay open longer, their provincial funding will be higher. On Manitoulin, while none of the daycares are officially open 12 hours a day, that care can be accommodated by request.

“The biggest challenge is finding qualified staff,” Mr. Dominelli told the DSB board at this month’s meeting, noting that early childhood educators are often choosing to go to school boards, which offer better pay, or other higher paying jobs rather than work in daycares.

DSB Chair Les Gamble said that parents are often having to work jobs that involve evenings and weekends and that DSB daycares should look to be open on weekends.

Donna Stewart, director of integrated social services, said that this has been discussed, but staffing is an issue. Ms. Stewart explained that a survey will be undertaken soon to see if such a need exists.

Dean Wenborne of French River asked why ECEs don’t get equal pay. Mr. Dominelli spoke of the school board’s collective agreements, whereas “we have not-for-profit daycare centres, all not for profit,” he reiterated. “For them (daycares) to move their salaries, they need stable funding. Our biggest challenge is to get the centres full. There’s currently no waiting list.”

Mr. Dominelli explained that when the province boosted ECE funding last year by $2 an hour, it appears on the paycheque as a separate line item, not as part of the regular pay. He said work needs to be done to have the $2 incorporated so that should the funding stop, an ECE’s rate of pay won’t change.

“The salary doesn’t drive people to the profession,” the CAO admitted.

As of September, the new universal rates for child care centres are as follows: full day, infants, $35; full day, toddlers, $30; full day, pre-school, $25; full day, school age, $20; socialization care, all ages, $15; before and after school care, all ages, $10; after school care, all ages, $10; and before school care, all ages, $5.

The new rates for licenced private home programs are: overnight care, $45; extended day care, $35; full day, $25; half day, $15; before and after school care, $10; after school care, $10; and before school care, $5.

These rates are available at the Little Current Child Care Centre (705-368-3400), Mindemoya Child Care Centre (705-377-5065), Gore Bay Child Care Centre and Assiginack Child Care Centre (both can be reached by calling 705-282-8669), as well as all licenced home care providers on Manitoulin.

These rates will be reviewed annually.