Childcare association questions lack of day camp regulation

The Yukon Childcare Association is concerned about how changes to the Child Care Act will affect children's safety at day camps and summer camps throughout the territory.

The Yukon Childcare Association is concerned about how changes to the Child Care Act will affect children’s safety at day camps and summer camps throughout the territory.

“The safety of children is paramount to what we do, and that’s pretty much the bottom line,” said Kate Swales, an association board member. The association provides training and support for early child educators, but does not receive government recognition, she said.

In May, the government changed the Child Care Act so it no longer applies to programs that operate for 12 consecutive weeks or less and don’t have providing childcare as their main goal. This includes March break or summer day camps and summer camps.

The act outlines what programs, like daycares and before-and-after-school programs, need to be licensed. Licensing rules say what sort of qualifications staff need, including police checks and first aid and CPR certification.

“This feels to us like this is a step of de-regulation of early child development of the act, that if they can do this for what they’re doing – if they can do this for camps, which is a real problem in itself, then what’s next?” said Swales.

When parents find out that day camps are not regulated by the government, they’re shocked, she said.

But the Child Care Act was never supposed to apply to day camps and the government has never regulated these programs, said Pat Living, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Services.

However, the act could be interpreted to apply to them. The government wanted to clarify what programs the act applies to, she said. The act is meant to apply to programs with the primary goal of caring for children. Day camps are often provided to older children, and are often focused on different sports or activities, she said.

And some camps, especially those run by not-for-profit groups, may not be able to afford to meet all the licensing requirements, she said.

Last year, the department created a handout listing questions parents should ask when choosing a program for their children. It includes questions about what the staff-to-children ratios are and what qualifications and certification staff members have. The department hopes to come up with a list of best practices to give to different camp providers, said Living.

Several camps already make sure their staff have certain requirements. City childcare specialists run the camps offered at the Canada Games Centre over March break, said Chris Milner, manager of recreation and facility services for the city. And the students hired to run summer camps are all over 18 and have police checks and first aid and CPR training.

Organizations like the Learning Disabilities Association of the Yukon and Northern Cultural Expressions Society make sure to keep low camper-to-staff ratios. There is one support worker for every 2.5 children at the Northern Cultural Expressions Society’s programs, said Naomi Crey, workshop co-ordinator for the society. And there are four staff at each of LDAY’s camps, said executive director Stephanie Hammond. Each camp can take a maximum of 10 children.

Contact Meagan Gillmore at

mgillmore@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Yukon COs kill 3 bears attracted to ‘waste’ stored at Whitehorse junkyard

‘If it can smell like food (a bear is) on it, and it’s happening all over the place.’

YG bars Dawson City’s retired dentist from providing emergency services

Government can’t get its story straight over why Helmut Schoener can’t use hospital dental suite

Fox family in Whitehorse neighbourhood could face removal this fall

‘The foxes have been here a lot longer, and we’re the invader’

Kaska Dena Council in court over hunting licences

‘Consultation is not a “the more the merrier” proposition’

Great Northern Tournament returns for fourth medieval combat event

‘Every year it grows a little more and we get a little better at it’

Chilkat Challenge Triathlon holds second race

Dozens of racers paddled, biked and ran from Mosquito Lake to Chilkat State Park

YESAB report urges traffic lights at Alaska Highway intersection

Lower speed limits suggested ahead of new gas station construction

Yukon government denies it owes substitute teachers unpaid wages

The Department of Education filed responses July 5 to five lawsuits launched against it by substitute teachers

Some women won the marriage lottery in the Klondike

Others did not fare so well in love

The wonderful world of Airbnb Whitehorse

Wonderful for tourists and homeowners at least. Renters? Not so much

Yukon researcher contributes to climate change adaptation report

‘We really worked to weave consideration of different ways of knowing through the report’

Whitehorse singer Sarah MacDougall’s new record sounds like scenery

‘Just getting out of town slightly, you can see a lot of beauty’

Most Read