Letter to the Editor

Child-care exemptions must end When parents hear the term licenced child care they expect a specific level of care is being provided.

Child-care

exemptions must end

When parents hear the term licenced child care they expect a specific level of care is being provided.

The expectation is that all the child-care providers have their RCMP security checks, are trained in first aid and that the child-care regulations, which are enforced by the Child Care Services Unit, are being complied with.

This also means parents expect a certain level of quality due to the education and programming requirements of the regulations.

It is these qualities that lead parents to choose licenced child care.

Why then are there programs being licenced to open that do not meet the regulations?

Yes, finding staff with their Early Childhood Development training is a problem.

There is a shortage in the child-care field just as there is in nursing, home care, social work, trades and many other sectors of the workforce.

According to the regulations 20 per cent of staff should have their Level 3/ECD diploma, 30 per cent should have their Level 2/ECD certificate and 50 per cent should have their Level 1/60-hour course.

This system enables the staff members who just come into the field to gradually (by taking courses part time) attain their Level 2 or 3 and do all their course practicums at work under a qualified staff member.

In order to get a Level 3 you need to complete the two-year ECD diploma program.

This includes doing four practicums under the supervision of someone with a Level 3.

And yet, despite the shortage of Level 3s, enrollment in the Early Childhood Development program at Yukon College is at the lowest it has been in years, sporting anywhere from four to eight students per class instead of the normal 16-20, even though the wages available to educated staff has increased.

However, education levels are not the only things in non-compliance.

Some new programs, which have been licenced in the last year, have not a single trained staffer and, in at least one case, there are staff looking after children who have no RCMP checks and, in some cases, do not have first aid training.

According to the regulations, when a centre or day home is found in non-compliance they are requested to fix the problem in a specific time period.

If the issue is not fixed they are given an order to comply. Once an order to comply has been issued their funding is suspended until the issue is fixed.

When a centre or day home is first licenced it is issued a temporary four-month licence, which is a grace period in which they can bring their centre or day home up to speed with any regulations they are in non-compliance with.

At the end of this time they are issued a licence if they are in compliance.

To maintain this licence they have to stay in compliance and have an annual inspection at the end of each year to renew it for the next year.

To ensure regulations are complied with, the child-care services unit is allowed to do four spot inspections throughout the year in addition to investigating any complaints or issues which may arise.

If a child-care centre or day home can’t comply with a regulation, but has a plan in place by which they will become compliant within a certain time frame the child-care services unit will grant it an exemption from that particular regulation for that time frame.

This means that as far as funding is considered they are in compliance because they have been exempted from complying with that regulation.

What is worrisome is that, once granted, these exemptions are granted again and again indefinitely. This has now made the problem worse rather than better.

When we at the Yukon Child Care Association heard of some of these issues we decided immediate action needed to take place for the safety and well-being of the children in our centres and day homes.

We wrote a letter requesting a moratorium be placed on all exemption letters until we could meet with child care services unit and Brad Cathers, the minister, and come up with what we considered an acceptable and safe solution to this issue.

We were granted a meeting only to be told that they were not going to grant the moratorium.

Parents and their children deserve assurance the child care they are enrolled in meets the regulations set in place for their safety and well-being.

If this happened in a restaurant, hospital, youth centre, or senior citizen’s home they would be shut down immediately.

Are our children not as important?

The Yukon Child Care Association Board, Whitehorse

Sealing our fate

Beware the Eides of March.

I was happy to hear that the European Union is perhaps just two weeks away from a total ban of seal fur.

The annual slaughter of these babies in front of their mothers is testimony enough.

These bogus news releases are an affront to damage control — full of meaningless rhetoric and also sickening.

They can now only crush the skull of a baby seal when their coat turns gray.

They are born with a white coat and turn gray at around three weeks.

This does not change this brutal act.

An animal still suckling and unable to swim or move is beaten to death for a coat or pair of boots.

A baby!

It lends an all-new meaning to the phrase, “born to die.”

Even hunters would have to consider this insane.

And then there’s the new three-point plan recently offered as a news release.

First, hit the baby seal on the head with the club and then check to see if the skull is crushed.

Look at its eyes and then, lastly, bleed the animal out.

This is your defense?

This butchering is a form of employment in this century? Oh that’s right, that three-week-old seal is a menace to society, a resource cockroach responsible for the extinction of the cod industry and in addition, Paris Hilton requires a rug.

Truly enlightened group of individuals.

Jean-Claude Lapierre, (head of the sealers’ association) claims the new three-step program is “very good.”

He further contends, “as for the question of suffering, it really ensures the animal is dead and people won’t be able to question that anymore.”

This is deemed by the decision makers, sitting in their ivory towers ,to be humane, and also by veterinarians.

Lapierre, it’s the act itself and what it entails, not the methods used to complete it, that is horrifying in this day and age.

The methods used only increase the barbarity.

Thousands of years ago the Mayans managed to calculate the length of the lunar moon as 329.53020 days, only 34 seconds out.

The Mayan calendar predicts that the Earth will end as we know it on December 21, 2012.

Given that they were pretty close to the mark with the lunar cycle, it’s likely they’ve got the end of the world right as well.

Perhaps that’s why we as a species proceed with blinders on?

There is no tomorrow.

It’s a now generation.

I’m quite sure the rest of life on this planet patiently waits for this day.

No doubt there will be one hell of a party afterwards, and none of us will be going.

Kevin Sinclair

Whitehorse