The Saskatchewan NDP invited some childcare program directors to the legislature yesterday, who have taken issue with a change they say will hamper smaller programs.
The Saskatchewan government announced that on April 1st, full-time daycares would reach that $10-a-day goal, but that would not apply to part-time or drop-in childcare programs.
In addition, the announcement meant that part-time and drop-in spaces would not be receiving the same subsidized fees as full-time spaces would as of June 1.
The announcement means that for a lot of those programs, it won't make sense to offer them, said Brittany Pelletier, a home-care provider who operates out of Saskatoon.
"We're told that yes, we can still offer them part-time and drop-in care, but we won't be getting paid for it. We can just collect ten dollars a day from the parent. When you put in all the work that we already put in, it made sense for us to be collecting the extra 50 dollars per day, it no longer makes sense to just post an extra child, and squeeze them into the routine ... for ten dollars a day."
Similar problems have popped up in rural communities, with the lack of trained workers and spaces especially pronounced according to Nichole Kessel, director of Whitewood Wiggles and Giggles Childcare Centre.
"There's nobody around, we're in Whitewood Saskatchewan, we're the first ever childcare center there. There are no ECE's around, to get them trained is absolutely impossible. One of the day homes just closed in Whitewood, so I just filled up our last full-time space and already have a wait list of over twenty children now and we're just in our seventh month of operation."
That hasn't been helped by what's being reported as conflicting evidence from government sources.
"We have consultants with the Ministry of Education that are supposed to be our voice - they are definitely not. I have heard consultants from the Ministry of Education tell me one piece of information, and then the Yorkton consultant, I reached out to her, she's telling me another piece of information."
"Then she told me to reach out to her program manager, which is their boss to clarify information who I spoke to today. Who is still not clear at all with the new rules and said she'd send me an email in a few days which, what are we supposed to do by April 1st?"
The NDP's Early Learning Critic Meara Conway said that most of the problems seemed to come from a lack of communication.
"I think that the significant concern on our side as opposition is the failure to consult here and the lack of clear information around the interpretation of these rules as recently as today. This has really sent providers and families into chaos."