Club Child, which runs out of Coquihalla elementary in Hope, has been hit by staffing shortages that have affected its operation. The five-day-a-week program will be cut back to three until about the end of November. (Jessica Peters/ Hope Standard)

Club Child, which runs out of Coquihalla elementary in Hope, has been hit by staffing shortages that have affected its operation. The five-day-a-week program will be cut back to three until about the end of November. (Jessica Peters/ Hope Standard)

Partial daycare closure in Hope stems from labour shortage

FVRD working on finding employees for program and other positions

There is a labour shortage across the country, and it’s being felt right here in Hope.

Bus routes have been affected from Hope to Abbotsford due to a lack of drivers, and now, the only after school daycare program has taken a hit.

Club Child has been forced to slim down its hours due to a staffing shortage. The program, run out of Coquihalla elementary by the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD), will only be running three days a week, effective immediately. The information was sent out to parents this week, stating that Mondays and Fridays will not be available for the rest of October and November.

Christina Vugteveen, manager of parks and services for FVRD says the labour shortage has resulted in the change, and that the hope to have a solution by the end of November. The program has room for up to 24 children each day.

“Recently we have had significant staffing difficulties, which are now impacting operations,” she said. She included a link to their postings for job vacancies (www.fvrd.ca). A posting has been online since last July, looking for up to five people to work as daycare attendants. The pay starts at $17.45 and rises to $19.39 after a probationary period. It is part-time work, from 2:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. each day.

There are a few job requirements, including CPR training, but filling these positions hasn’t been a problem in the past.

There are strict rules for daycare operators on staffing, with staff to child ratios required for licensing. They’ve been using managers to fill those requirements while they’ve searched for new employees. But that’s no longer possible, Vugteveen explained, hence the need to cut down operation times.

They aren’t alone in the struggle to find workers. A majority of Canadian employers are reporting labour shortages more than 18 months into the COVID-19 pandemic. A report released in September provided additional evidence, with more than 60 per cent of Canadian businesses saying that widespread labour shortages are limiting their growth.

The report, produced by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), combined the findings of two surveys – one that polled 1,251 Canadian entrepreneurs in May 2021 and a survey of 3,000 Canadian employees conducted in June 2021. Its findings suggest 49 per cent of business owners have had to delay or have been unable to deliver orders to clients due to a lack of labour.

It also says many small- and medium-sized business owners report job vacancies sitting empty for three or four months at a time, with 61 per cent saying they’ve had to increase their own hours or their employees’ work hours as a result.

That’s the case with Club Child, where the positions have been posted online since July. They’re stepping up their recruitment tactics and joining in the Black Press Career Fair on Nov. 5, which takes place online from 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. They’re hiring everyone from teens who want to be lifeguards, right up the corporate ladder.

The career fair will be a chance to speak with FVRD’s hiring manager and learn more about gaining employment with them. To join, visit Black Press Events on Facebook.

Meanwhile, they’ve apologized for the “unexpected partial closure,” and referred parents to send concerns to the Hope and District Recreation Centre, which is also run through the FVRD.

“Each day it takes more than 20 people to run the Recreation Centre and arena,” an FVRD spokesperson told The Standard. “In September, the Centre had adequate staff to run most of the programs but is now experiencing unprecedented staffing shortages related to staff moving on to other opportunities, and other challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

READ MORE: Widespread labour shortage not going away any time soon: BDC report

– with files from Canadian Press


@CHWKcommunity
jessica.peters@hopestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Hopelabour market