Lack of daycare in some Nunavut hamlets a barrier to jobs, say officials
'It makes it difficult for people to work,' says Arctic Bay economic development officer
Officials in two Nunavut communities, say a lack of a daycare is a barrier to employment and leads to students with children of their own dropping out of school.
The daycare in Resolute Bay has been closed for a number of years and the building is in need of repairs.
"Once it got closed down, the plumbing system over there wasn't being looked at. All of the pipe lines burst out and everything popped up," said Lysia Iqaluk, a member of Resolute Bay's District Education Authority.
In the community of about 250 residents, it means finding alternative means to look after young children.
"Most parents bring their child to work or school," she said.
Resolute Bay is not the only community in the territory without a daycare. According to the Government of Nunavut's website, six communities are without an operational daycare.
The Government of Nunavut funds and licenses daycares but it does not operate them.
In the past, the daycare in Arctic Bay, a community of about 800 people, was operated by two separate organizations, both of which no longer exist.
"It's more difficult for young people with children to finish their education," said Arctic Bay's economic development officer Clare Kines.
"It makes it difficult for people to work. It's very much an economic development issue because in order for family members to get jobs, they need someone to look after their children."
He said fixing the building is only part of the problem.
"That's a fairly easy fix," he said. "You've got to get to the stage where there's a society or a business ready to operate it and move into that building."
The Government of Nunavut offers funding through income support for students who require a babysitter or daycare, though Kines says it's seldom used.
"It's not going to be used if there's not the means in place for somebody to take a child to daycare or sufficient people in a community that are willing and able to be babysitters," he said.
- A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the population of Arctic Bay. It also incorrectly stated that Lysia Iqaluk's home community is Arctic Bay. Iqaluk is from Resolute Bay.Oct 08, 2015 7:15 AM CT