Families will be reimbursed for child care expenses for July
The Yukon government is offering parents and families in the territory an olive branch after child care centers have closed for most of the past three weeks to help fight the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The Yukon Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) funding program has been temporarily adjusted to support all families for the month of July, including those who have voluntarily kept their children at home for two weeks to help reduce transmission. COVID-19, ”news released by the government said Monday afternoon.
“Through the Department of Education, the Yukon ELCC provides $ 700 per month, per child, as a direct grant to families with children attending full-time licensed child care programs.
“Funding will also be provided to Watson Lake Daycare, which currently subscribes to the Rural Sustainability Program. “
For July, the grant will be based on registration rather than attendance.
“The Government of Yukon is facilitating full reimbursement of any additional parenting fees billed by child care operators over and above the usual subsidy for that month,” the government said.
“This additional financial support will help alleviate the financial pressures of child care services for families. It also provides all licensed child care operators in the Yukon with the support they need to continue paying staff and providing essential and essential child care services.
With the outbreak in daycares now under control and most people have recovered, Dr. Brendan Hanley, the Chief Medical Officer of Health, recommended reopening daycares and family day homes to all children last Monday. and not just those of critical and essential workers.
“As Yukoners have come together to help contain the transmission of COVID-19 among children, our licensed child care centers have continued to provide valuable, high-quality services to our community and essential workers during this exceptionally difficult time.” , said Education Minister Jeanie McLean.
“We appreciate our early childhood educators and families who have been able to go the extra mile to keep their children at home.
“The health and safety of children and families is always our top priority, and we want to support Yukoners by ensuring that all licensed child care costs are fully covered for the month of July. “
The government is the legislated regulatory body for licensed child care centers in the Yukon and is not a party to any agreements or contracts signed between operators and parents, including agreed upon requirements for parent fees that exceed the $ 700 subsidy. $.
The total amount of additional financial assistance to families and licensed child care operators in the Yukon for the period of July 1 to July 31 will be calculated based on the reimbursements to families facilitated by the operators, which in turn will be fully reimbursed by the government. .
The funding will support families with children enrolled in licensed child care centers in July, as well as 72 licensed child care operators and up to 300 early childhood educators and staff.
The government’s plan did not suit the official opposition of the Yukon Party.
Party leader Currie Dixon told The Star this morning that the offer came close to covering the stress on parents and families during the shutdown.
He said many parents have had to make the difficult decision of staying home and looking after their children or continuing to work so they can pay their bills.
Many parents, he suggested, have taken unpaid leave of absence from their job during this time and deserve to be better paid.
“This falls far short of covering lost wages for those who have had to take unpaid days off,” Dixon said.
“It has put additional stress on parents who are wondering how they are going to make up for lost wages. The Liberals have given no indication that they will adjust the paid sick leave program to reflect these circumstances.
“The government should have provided more support,” Dixon said.
He would have liked to see him create another program specifically tailored to the situation.
“He could have created a unique program to cover it,” said the leader of the Yukon Party.
“Many families have been forced to take unpaid leave to follow this government recommendation,” the party added in a statement.
“Families were faced with the dilemma of choosing between following health recommendations or showing up for work so they could pay their bills and feed their families. This was an unfair choice for parents, and the government should have planned better to support Yukon families during the outbreak.
“Several reports throughout the pandemic have indicated that the burden of decisions affecting child custody and schooling is disproportionately felt by women,” the party added.
“This is probably also the case with the Yukon government’s decision to tell parents to keep their children at home for three weeks without providing compensation or assistance to parents who have had to take time off work to keep up with this. recommendation.
There were approximately 1,500 children enrolled in licensed child care this month.