Saturday , January 16 2021

Three-day payment delay leads to the Christmas crisis for some B.C. daycares

Kelowna's day care owner Amanda Worms was forced to use a personal credit and borrow money from his parents as a government payment did not arrive on time.

Submitted image / PNG

The day care practitioner Amanda Worms spent part of her Christmas break to pay her lease after the province was delayed three days with a $ 22,000 fee reduction.

"It's impossible to run a business this way," said the Okanagan daycare operator on Thursday. "If the government really wants to move to universal childcare, they must get their action together."

In April, the province initiated the Child Care Fee Initiative, reducing the cost of day care by up to $ 350 per day. Month for each room depending on the child's age and the type of childcare. The money is paid directly to daycares, which transfers the savings to families. Operators must submit the paperwork by the 20th of each month to receive payment no later than the first day of the next month.

But in both December and January, some payments were delayed by as much as three days, leaving day care operators in a hard place.

Worms, who runs two child care centers in Kelowna with 250 seats, receives about $ 22,000 from the government each month instead of a portion of parenting fees. She uses the money to pay the rent on two buildings, three small buses and staffing.

"About $ 42,000 in expenses comes out of my account in the first of the month, without payroll," she explained. "In the past, we could have had one or two parents late in payment, but now the impact is multiplied."

Worms said she made her payment application on December 20 before the deadline. When she did not see the money at the end of the month, she called the Ministry of Children and Family Development, and the staff told her that the payment would arrive between December 31 and January 4.

"From that point on, I spent hours on the phone trying to figure out what to do," she said.

Eventually, one of her homeowners agreed to wait a few days for her lease while Worms covered the rest with her personal credit and help from her parents.

"The government said it was a" minor "delay, but it is no less," she said. "If they are one day late, it can cost me thousands of dollars."

This is not the first time this has happened. Worms said there were delays with his last three payments. Before the government program came into force if a family could not pay their fees, the day care staff could ask them not to come back before the debt was settled.

"I can't tell them they can't come because the government hasn't paid their fees."

Kelowna day care owner owns Amanda Worms.

Submitted image /



In an emailed statement, a minister's spokesman said "the number of statutory holidays in December resulted in a short delay for some providers."

The Ministry also promised to do better and said it would look at ways to improve the payment system to ensure that in "circumstances like this, funds are available at the beginning of the month to allow them to pay their staff or other related costs. ”

The Ministry could not deliver Postmedia with the number of day care operators receiving a late payment in January. But a spokesman said that per. On December 24, 2,200 payments were processed and the "majority" received their money by 1 January.

When asked about late payments by this month, a ministry spokesman said some payments were also "a few days late" in December due to "a delay in new staff joining the childcare program and statutory holidays . "

A total of 2,600 childcare organizations have been approved for childcare fees – about 86% of eligible organizations. The Ministry has recently increased the number of employees who assessed applications.

But the program has not been without criticism. In the spring, some parents saw minimal fee reductions as some daycare providers raised their fees before entering the provincial program. Some day care operators also spoke against it and said it forced them to abandon control of their businesses.

Vancouver day care operator Shannon Shearer said she received her December fee reduction payment two weeks late because she was unaware that changing the age category of her facility would result in a delay.

Due to a $ 6,000 deficit on December 1, she was worried she wouldn't be able to pay her staff before Christmas. She said the ministry suggested she told parents to pay her the full rate for the month and then refund them when late payment came in.

"I couldn't make it to the families just before the holidays," she said. "I have been running a childcare for 10 years and I have never had a problem with payment before. The lack of support from the Ministry was really disappointing."

Two other childcare providers also contacted Postmedia for payment delays, claiming that they were misinformed about the application process by the Ministry, which resulted in delays that made it difficult for them to operate.

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