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Nova Scotia daycares rack up thousands of violations

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Author: 
Tunney, Catharine
Publication Date: 
23 Dec 2014
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About 30 per cent of all early childhood development facilities in Nova Scotia had 10 or more violations over the past two years, according to information obtained by CBC under the Freedom of Information Act.

CBC received the information just as the province rewrites its day care legislation.

Internal briefing notes from the Department of Community Services show there have been 2,667 day care facility violations since July 1, 2012. Out of the approximately 400 regulated daycares, 120 had 10 or more Day Care Act violations.

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Changes coming

The top offenders had a host of other violations ranging from administrative mistakes to not providing all the Health Canada food groups at meal time. Others didn't provide programming promoting inclusion of children with different abilities.

The province announced on Monday that the government now has the authority to ban anyone working or volunteering with children until they have the proper paperwork.

Starting in June 2015, the criminal-record check will be replaced by the vulnerable-sector check, which includes a search of the pardoned sex offender database. It must be renewed every five years.

The government is also changing the language of some rules to make certain areas clearer including programming, building and space requirements, incident and accident reporting, and nutrition.

Internal emails show that back in May, people within the Department of Community Services were worried a backlog at the Child Abuse Register were contributing to the steep number of violations.

"[The minister] is concerned about an apparent back up ... she has become aware of three centres in Dartmouth, whose practice it is to have their employee files updated every three years. They file the search request three to four months in advance, and yet, because their searches are backed up and the searches remain uncompleted, the centres have licence violation notice posted publicly stating they are non-compliant," one official wrote.

"She fears there is a child safety issue given the delayed response."

Documents show the province also tracks facilities that have had the same violation. Twenty-four facilities have been cited for the same violation four or more times.

The Apple Dumpling After School Program in New Minas didn't have a proper first aid certificate six times, outstanding child abuse registry checks five times and lapsed criminal record checks four times in a two-year span.

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Entered Date: 
7 Jan 2015
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