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No change coming to daycare regulation

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Author: 
Charlton, Jonathan
Publication Date: 
2 May 2014

 

EXCERPTS

The Saskatchewan government has no plans to introduce closer oversight of unlicensed daycares.

Last August, then-education minister Russ Marchuk and Social Services Minster June Draude said they were open to considering changes to the rules, after a Kijiji ad warning parents of an unlicensed daycare was shared on social media.

The Saskatchewan government can issue provisional licenses for violations at licensed daycares and child care homes. They are also inspected.

Unlicensed daycares aren't subject to provisional licenses or inspections. Instead, the province will investigate if it receives complaints from the public.

There will be "no change at this point," said Cindy Jeanes, director of early learning and child care service delivery for the province.

"At this point, we are the first point of contact if any parent or someone in the general public has a concern about an unlicensed facility," she said.

"We will go out and visit the home or provide information that's required. So we do definitely follow up on any concerns that are brought to our attention."

Andrea Elian, a Willowgrove mother of two, said she has no concerns about sending her children to an unregulated daycare.

Her family used an unregulated and soon-to-retire child care provider with their first child, Sarah, for two years and were happy with the service.

Elian said it's the parent's responsibility to keep an eye on how many kids are going through the door every day.

"There's no way for them to hide children in their house," she said.

The province has issued licences to more than 500 child care facilities.

All licensed facilities have to post licences in a conspicuous location. When an inspector or complaint identifies a problem, a provisional licence is issued stating what needs to be addressed, and it's easily identified as provisional, Jeanes said.

Last year, 66 provisional licences were issued to 47 child care facilities provincewide.

In Saskatoon, 19 provisional licenses were issued to 14 child care centres and licensed family child care homes.

The most common infractions are staff not meeting education requirements, or the facility not meeting application or renewal requirements such as heating or fire inspections.

Licensed and non-licensed facilities can be fined up to $350 per day if they don't comply with the rules, but that's a last resort.

"That's not the way we would choose to follow up," Jeanes said.

Instead, the province works with the operators to bring them into compliance with the least disruption to families, she said.

The names of the facilities that have received provisional licenses aren't publicly available, though parents can file a freedom of information request to inquire about a particular one, Jeanes said.

"We've explored what some of the other jurisdictions are doing regarding posting that information, but at this point we haven't made any decision. There really hasn't been any request to do so."

- reprinted from the Star Phoenix 

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Entered Date: 
6 May 2014
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