Saturday , 6 March 2021
Bonnyville and District FCSS.

Bonnyville’s Emergency Management trying to provide childcare for frontline workers

The Bonnyville and District FCSS and Bonnyville Daycare.

The Bonnyville Emergency Management committee is working with the province to get clarity on how to get childcare running for frontline workers.

Director of Emergency Management, Jay Melvin, said they began canvassing frontline staff workers at the Bonnyville Health Center, police, and first responders to confirm the need for childcare several weeks ago.

The province expanded the number of essential service workers who could receive childcare last week, as only 14 daycares centres across Alberta had re-opened.

However, there are challenges to work through with just one daycare in Bonnyville, the types of shifts these workers have, and how it would all work.

“We’ve had several discussions with the local Bonnyville daycare here. One of the concerns that we have is…I guess more than one, is a financial aspect being that the daycare is a *privately-run organization, and we can expect them to run in the red to support this initiative,” he said.

“The next piece was the ability of staff. Right now, obviously, everybody is extremely concerned if they’re going to get the virus. And for those folks, are they willing to come in and put themselves at an increased risk now that they’re involved with frontline staff’s children?”

Melvin said the next step is securing a service provider and then working with the province on how that will physically work.

“We have a call-in actually before this into the province and say, ok, tell us what the steps are, what funding is out there to ensure that local providers that are providing it for frontline staff don’t go into the red and ensure that they are sustainable to provide the service so that the staff can continue to work?”

“We’re now into primarily week three of everybody with the stay at home model. The requirement for childcare is not going to go away for frontline staff as we continue down this and more and more restrictions come in.

“It’s a moving target right now so we can find out what’s going on, but we do know there’s a need and we are having those discussions.”

*The Bonnyville and District Daycare Society is a non-profit organization.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.