Daycare, school lunch money next in line of election promises

The Yukon Party is promising to increase the amount of money available to daycares and day homes in the hopes of creating more spots for Yukon children.

The Yukon Party is promising to increase the amount of money available to daycares and day homes in the hopes of creating more spots for Yukon children.

The governing party says, if it’s elected again come November, the amount of money available for direct operating grants would jump to $10 million.

“We’re definitely hoping it will get us more daycare spaces but we’re also hoping it will encourage maybe new daycares to open up,” said Doug Graham, the Yukon Party candidate for Whitehorse Centre and current education minister.

Right now licensed daycares and day homes get an operating grant from the Department of Health and Social Services. How much they get per child is decided by a funding formula with factors like the experience of staff, building costs, the age of the children and whether the program offers a hot meal.

According to the department, a small day home could receive up to approximately $20,000 a year. A larger child care centre could bring in about $270,000 a year.

Last year $3.9 million was budgeted for the grants. According to the Yukon Party about $5 million a year usually gets spent.

There are no plans to change the formula for how the money is doled out, Graham said. Instead he hopes having $10 million in the budget will encourage new or existing daycares to offer more spaces.

Daycare spots are in short supply in the territory, Graham said.

“I have two grandsons that are in daycare as well. They had to change daycares a while ago and they spent two months at my place because of the fact that they could not get into a daycare within that two month period.”

Daycares in the communities are funded using the same formula as the ones in Whitehorse. A re-elected Yukon Party government would change that for Dawson City, Watson Lake and Ross River, Graham said.

The party is promising to launch a pilot project in those communities that would give daycares a guaranteed level of funding instead of basing funding on how many kids are in care.

“They won’t have to worry if that family with six kids moves away, that their (direct operating grant) will drop dramatically because five of those kids were in daycare,” Graham said.

Graham couldn’t say how much will be included in the base funding. Deals will be negotiated with each of the communities, he said.

A pledge for more daycare money isn’t the only election promise having to do with kids that came up this week.

Last week the Yukon Food for Learning Association published a letter claiming it wasn’t going to have enough money this year to provide food to students in need.

The association provides funding for food programs in 28 of the 29 Yukon schools.

Last year it funded nearly 200,000 breakfasts, lunches and snacks, according to the letter.

During the 2016/17 school year the association expects to spend about $157,000. The program has a budget of $138,000.

The plan is to cover the deficit using money raised in 2007 and 2009 at cooking shows.

Volunteers were predicting another $23,000 shortfall come 2017/18.

The association asked the next government to increase its funding.

The Yukon Party said it will increase funding by the necessary $23,000 next fiscal year, and commit to a review of the program.

The NDP said it was prepared to provide additional funding up to $50,000.

“Because kids can’t learn if they’re coming to school on an empty stomach,” said the NDP’s Lois Moorcroft, who’s running for re-election in Copperbelt South.

“It’s the right thing to do.”

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukon gets sixth case of COVID-19, three have recovered

Dr. Brendan Hanley said there is a sixth case in Whitehorse but three have recovered

White River First Nation calls on premier to stop mining activity

An influx of miners in the area is causing concern

Whitehorse city council holds off on purchasing Seventh Avenue property

Would be a “costly endeavour for the city”, says councillor

VGFN passing emergency legislation to better screen for travellers entering the community

The move follows the unwelcome arrival of two people from Quebec last week

Victoria Gold still operating Eagle Gold mine with COVID-19 precautions in place

The mine is still in operation but with precautions, including social distancing, in place

YTA, Yukon government reach agreement on hiring dispute out of court

YTA’s petition was set to be heard March 25 but was called off after the parties reached an agreement

City hall, briefly

Here’s a look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its… Continue reading

Skagway has resolve in the COVID-19 struggle, mayor says

Skagway mayor said border access is important for residents.

Yukonomist: Steering your business through COVID-19

While “proofing” your business against the impacts might not be possible, being prepared is.

History Hunter: How the Yukon was spared the influenza pandemic of 1918

The isolation of the Yukon then afford the territory some protection that it doesn’t have today

Whitehorse city council contemplates OCP change for section of the tank farm

Change would allow for commercial industrial use instead of current residential classification

Truck slides off Dempster Highway

The truck left the road around 4 p.m. on March 19. The highway was closed until March 21 for cleanup.

Most Read