B.C. daycare owner frustrated over lack of payments from provincial program

Amanda Worms of Little Owl Academy has not received subsidy payments on time for months

- Contributed Little Owl Academy owner Amanda Worms is frustrated with the province’s lack of organization regarding her subsidy payments as part of the childcare reduction fee initiative.

A Kelowna childcare centre owner is growing increasingly frustrated with the provincial government after it failed to provide her with on-time subsidy payments for the last two months.

Amanda Worms, owner of two Little Owl Academy daycare services in the Central Okanagan, said she had to reach into her line of credit to pay her staff because the province has not provided her with the payments as part of a new childcare fee reduction initiative.

The program was implemented last April.

“We had to opt in to order to give our parents a fee reduction of $350 for an infant toddler spot and $150 for a child from three to Kindergarten,” she said.

“It reduced revenues for facilities that they expected to have for the first of the month, so the commitment from the government is that it is always going to be paid before the first of the month. The issue with it is for a facility of my size, that’s over $20,000.

RELATED: Why some B.C. daycares didn’t opt in to subsidy program

“Now this is the second month in a row that I haven’t been paid by the first and I’m still trying to come back from last month’s issue.”

She also recently found out that families had been deleted from her filing system, which she was told was because of an administrative glitch.

The families now have to opt into the program again, she said, and no one would have known had she not noticed the issue.

“Now you’re facing even more fees that you’re expecting to come in (that) aren’t coming,” she said. “It’s become a really big problem.”

Worms was told payments were delayed because of statutory holidays, but that doesn’t keep her from having to pay her own bills, she said.

Worms said she sent an email to the province, but has yet to receive a response from the ministry or minister responsible.

“I had to personally fund my payroll yesterday and I’m lucky that I’m a person who doesn’t have a maxed (out) line of credit, so I’m honestly hoping people understand this is a serious problem.”

She is also skeptical of the new wage enhancement program because of the way the B.C. government has handled this program.

Starting this month, the government is providing a $1 per hour wage enhancement for front-line early childhood educators working in eligible licensed child care facilities. Another $1 per hour wage enhancement is scheduled for April 1, 2020, according to the government’s website.

RELATED: Advocate says universal child care long overdue in B.C.

“There’s just been a whole bunch of really weird anomalies,” said Worms. “As a business owner, that can’t happen… we have over 250 families that we serve.”

The province responded with an emailed statement.

“The Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative has been in operation since last April. We know that providers rely on timely payments for their operations. Our payment system requests that providers submit their monthly reports by the 20th of each month and unless further information is required, payments are received by the first of the month.

“In December, we processed around 2,200 payments by Dec. 24 and the majority of these providers should have received payment by Jan. 1. The number of statutory holidays in December resulted in a short delay for some providers. All providers who submitted their reports on or before Dec. 20 should receive payment by Jan. 3.

“We understand the impact this has on child care providers, and will be looking at how we can improve the payment system to ensure that in circumstances such as this, funds are available at the start of the month to allow them to pay their staff or other related costs,” according to a ministry spokesperson.

Worms is also in the middle of opening a new facility in Lake Country.

“It’s frustrating. I’ve spent my entire Christmas break (asking if her payments can be held),” she said.

As of Jan. 3, she still hadn’t received a payment.

“When you’re dealing with big leasing companies, they don’t really give a crap if you’re not getting your payment,” she said.

@carliberry_
carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Overworked and understaffed: More than 300 vacancies in Vancouver Island nursing

Tentative deal with province includes ‘working short premium’ to encourage hiring

CRD committee proposes ending livestock payouts to farmers

The bylaw has existed since the creation of the CRD’s animal control service in 1979

Victoria city council seeks authority to tax empty homes

Council is asking the province for the authority to invoke a vacancy tax

Backyardigans, Max & Ruby stage shows add to Family Day in Sidney

Bodine Hall shows make room for kids to sing, dance, enjoy Family Day weekend

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes says municipality will re-group after Rowing Canada decision

Haynes said he is “quite disappointed” but also respects choice of North Cowichan as national centre

VIDEO: Excessive speed on the Malahat captured by dash cam footage

Poster calls driving ‘dangerous, obnoxious and disrespectful’

POLL: Should people have to license their cats?

The Victoria Natural History Society has sent letters to 13 municipalities in… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

Most Read