Some parents in Watson Lake, Yukon have been left in the lurch by news that the only day care in town will be closed after Friday.
Tanis Secerbegovic, president of the Watson Lake Day Care Society, says the facility simply can’t find enough staff.
“Our biggest issue, really, is that we’re not able to offer them a wage that is competitive with other employers in Watson Lake,” Secerbegovic said.
“I know that one of our staff was approached by one of the gas stations in the community, and was offered $4 more an hour than what we can pay.”
Secerbegovic says the day care currently looks after about ten to 12 children and infants. It’s run as a non-profit, so there’s not a lot of money to raise staff wages.
“We’re operating with very little margin for accidents and emergencies, so if our furnace goes down we need to have a little bit of cash in our bank account,” she said.
“Even giving people a few dollars raise … would translate to us going into the red.”
No other options
The community has no registered day homes, so for some working parents the day care is the only option.
Jean Maclean’s two-year-old son has been going there. Maclean works as the principal at Watson Lake Secondary School and her husband also works.
She says she found out Tuesday that the facility would close at the end of this week, and it took her by surprise. She’s made arrangements with a friend to look after her son, at least for the short term.
“I’m hoping this arrangement will continue, but it could easily not work out as well,” Maclean said.
“It would be very hard for me to take my child to work and … I just really don’t know how that would work out.”