North

Whitehorse preschool says it can't open because insurance companies won't cover them

A new daycare in Whitehorse was not able to open on schedule this week because they can't find an insurance company willing to cover them during the pandemic.

Nest Forest School was set to open this week with 10 children enrolled

The Nest Forest School was unable to open its doors this week. (Mike Rudyk/CBC)

A new daycare in Whitehorse was not able to open on schedule this week because they can't find an insurance company willing to cover them during the pandemic.

Ten students were enrolled in the Nest Forest School, which will largely deliver outdoor and land-based programs for preschool children.

But Erin Nicolardi, co-founder of Rivers to Ridges, which operates the daycare, said insurance companies don't want to take the risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Companies were fine with summer camps, she said,  but would not insure a full-time indoor/outdoor daycare.

"It's been really hard to have this program delayed because obviously there are families counting on this program," said Emily Payne, Rivers to Ridges' other co-founder. 

The centre has been recently renovated to accommodate up to 14 preschoolers.

Nicolardi says insurance companies are unwilling to cover the school during the pandemic. (Mike Rudyk/CBC)

"Our understanding is that COVID[-19] has affected how some insurance companies are not willing to take on the risk of a new licensed childcare program," Nicolardi said.

"We keep hitting barriers every time we try to approach the project with a new angle."

She said their insurance broker gave them a hard no.

Preschool children at Rivers to Ridges will not be able to attend the Nest Forest School until an insurance provider can be found. (Submitted by Rosalind Crump)

Two years ago, Rivers to Ridges won a $100,000 Arctic Inspiration Prize to help launch the Forest School Program for preschoolers.

The Forest School Program provides outdoor education and land-based programming, to encourage kids to feel more connected to their environment. 

Nicholardi says they will continue their search for a willing insurance company that will allow them to open their doors.

The team is also meeting with City of Whitehorse and government officials to discuss options.

For now, the only client in the centre is a puppy, Griffin.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now