Staffing shortage temporarily closes School Aged day care programs
Tim Brody - Editor
A staffing shortage has resulted in the temporary closure of School Aged day care programs at both Biidaaban and Sioux Mountain Children’s Centres.
“We have been taking extraordinary measures since late fall to ensure these programs continue without interruption. However, we have reached a point where we can no longer offer these programs until we are able to secure additional, qualified staff,” explained Day Care Manager Kelly Negus.
According to the Municipality of Sioux Lookout, extensive advertising and recruitment efforts have been ongoing for several months to address the staff shortage at the Municipal Child Care Centres.
The Municipality shared, “Vacancies for individuals with Early Childhood Education (ECE) diplomas have been advertised with the following agencies/organizations/websites:
Municipal website and Municipal Facebook and Twitter accounts
Sioux Lookout Bulletin (hard copy and online)
Sioux Hudson Employment Services
Confederation College – Sioux Lookout and Thunder Bay campuses
Human Resources Development Canada – Job Bank
Northwest Works – Job Bank
Association of Early Child Educators of Ontario
Red River College
Sioux North High School (Co-Op Program)
Municipal World magazine/website
2019 Lakehead Career Fair (Feb 6 & 7, 2019)
The Municipality also shared that they are working with Confederation College to help recruit Early Childhood Educators. “There are presently 15 students enrolled in the ECE program through Confederation College’s Kenora District Campuses, however, none at the Sioux Lookout Campus,” the Municipality informed The Bulletin.
Asked how long the temporary shutdown might last, The Bulletin was informed, “The goal is to have this service disruption be a short as possible, but the actual timeline is strictly dependent on the ability to hire qualified ECEs, both full and part time, as well as casuals. The closure commenced on Monday, February 11. We cannot project the duration at this time, as it entirely depends on the ability to recruit/hire additional staff.”
Asked if the Municipality had any advice or suggestions for affected parents and guardians, the Municipality replied, “We would suggest contacting other service organizations – Recreation Centre, Sioux Lookout Public Library, Friendship Centre/Youth Centre, church groups, etc. – to enquire about the availability of after school programs for their children.”
Negus further advised, “Parents of children in our Junior Kindergarten/Senior Kindergarten (JK/SK) programs at both Biidaaban and Sioux Mountain Children’s Centres have been advised of the staffing situation, and were told that if additional staff cannot be secured, those programs may be affected as well. Again, staffing is the sole reason for these service disruptions.”
The Municipality is asking for the community’s patience and understanding as they work to address the staffing shortages.
“The Municipality continues to work closely with the Kenora District Services Board (KDSB), who provides funding for the operation of the child care centres, as well as the Ontario Ministry of Education, whose regulations govern how children’s centres are operated, including prescribing the required ratios of ECEs to students,” the Municipality shared.
“We are very concerned about this situation and offer our sincere apologies for the inconvenience that this will have on the children in our programs and their families,” Negus concluded, adding, “please rest assured that we are working diligently towards a solution in as timely a manner as possible.”