Nanaimo daycare says it can’t get answers on rejected subsidy application

Children play at a daycare in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday March 28, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A Nanaimo daycare owner whose application to the province’s fee-reduction program was rejected says she wants her case reviewed, but is getting silence from the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

“I have repeatedly emailed them and asked them, ‘Can you talk to me?’ I have phoned and left messages,” Tina, who owns Kid’s Place Childcare Centre, told Global News.

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The B.C. government introduced its child care strategy in February as an attempt to reduce fees for parents by an average of $60 to $350 a month. To qualify for fee-reduction subsidies, licensed daycares must opt in to the program.

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But Tina said the only person she’s managed to get through to so far is a manager, who told her they didn’t have any power over reviews.

“Other than her being nice and listening to my frustration, there’s not been any action that she’s been able to do, inform or guide me,” she said.

Tina said she has a planned fee increase in the works for September, which she suspects is behind the rejected application.

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Kid’s Place is planning an increase of fees for infants to $1,250 a month, which Tina said is in line with other child care centres in the area, many of whom she says have been approved for the fee-reduction program.

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She added that in order to stay in business, she’s had to buy the building where her daycare is located and give staff raises to retain them, circumstances she hasn’t been able to communicate to the ministry.

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She said that without speaking with someone at the ministry, she can’t negotiate or even have a discussion about what it thinks is a reasonable fee.

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Andrea Meadows is a parent with a child at the daycare, and said she’s okay with rates going up because it’s what needs to be done to support staff and the facility.

“I have been there with my daughter for two years now and I haven’t seen a fee increase until now, so I feel that the fee increases are fair,” she said.

After being contacted by Global News, the ministry won’t comment on this — or any case — specifically, but said it is working with the 53 providers who want rejected applications reviewed.

Another 437 operators have their applications on hold pending more information.

Of the 57,000 child care spaces eligible for fee reduction, 37,000 have been approved since the program started in April.

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