Daycare stays open for essential workers, but says government hasn't paid May bill

·2 min read
Many daycares in Nova Scotia are struggling under the COVID-19 restrictions and asking for better help from the government.  (Rebecca Martel/CBC - image credit)
Many daycares in Nova Scotia are struggling under the COVID-19 restrictions and asking for better help from the government. (Rebecca Martel/CBC - image credit)

A Halifax-area daycare says it's on the verge of financial collapse because they've stayed open during the lockdown, but haven't gotten May's funding from the province.

Unlike schools, licensed child-care centres have remained open while Nova Scotia battles an aggressive third wave of COVID-19, even as some parents choose to keep their children at home during the provincewide lockdown.

Mrs. Robinson's Childcare Centre in Fall River normally sees 41 children a day walk through its doors, but now the facility is down to one child.

"We're in a pretty tough spot right now," Lindsay Awalt, the centre's co-owner, said Friday. "As of today, still no funding has been released."

Parents whose children are staying at home are not paying fees, though their spots are retained. The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development is supposed to cover those fees.

The province has encouraged parents to keep their children at home where possible, so that daycare spots can be temporarily given to children of essential workers.

Lindsay Awalt co-owns Mrs. Robinson's Childcare Centre in Fall River.
Lindsay Awalt co-owns Mrs. Robinson's Childcare Centre in Fall River.(CBC)

Awalt said the centre has less than a dollar in its business bank accounts. The facility's employee was paid this week, but Awalt and co-owner Molly Rogers were not.

"We were able to put [our employee] on the payroll this week, but moving forward, we're unsure of how everything is going to look," Awalt said.

Poor communication

She said the parents of the one child who remains at the daycare are essential workers who will be forced to look for another daycare if no funding arrives by Monday.

Awalt said the government has ignored all emails and phone calls since May 3.

"If we knew it was going to take this long, it might have been beneficial for us to layoff and close down our centre and reopen when the numbers and capacity are higher," she said.

The Education Department told CBC News on Friday afternoon that it has spoken to the daycare and it should receive funding soon.

Mother worried

Cory Mooney has three young children, one of whom usually spends his mornings at the daycare's preschool program.

She said her son has been home for three weeks now. Mooney said her neighbourhood has no other daycares and needs Awalt's operation to continue.

"She's a new business owner. She's young and she's fantastic at what she does. We talked about supporting the child-care industry and it just hasn't happened," she said

MORE TOP STORIES

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting