Catch-22 glitch reduces student daycare spaces at Iqaluit’s Inuksuk High

Under Kakivak childcare rules, Inuit students funded by GN program aren’t considered Inuit


A dispute between the Iqaluit District Education Authority and the board that runs the Inuksuk Infant Development Centre at Inuksuk High School remains unresolved. (FILE PHOTO)

A dispute between the Iqaluit District Education Authority and the board that runs the Inuksuk Infant Development Centre at Inuksuk High School remains unresolved. (FILE PHOTO)

The daycare inside Iqaluit’s Inuksuk High School says it’s only able to offer five of its 24 spaces to the children of high school students, due to conflicting funding program rules.

Shauna Beaton, the chairperson of the Inuksuk Infant Development Centre, or IIDC, communicated that to the Iqaluit District Education Authority in a letter dated Oct. 5.

The DEA had been demanding that the high school day care centre give a higher priority to the children of high school students.

The DEA chair, Doug Workman, said the high school’s original mandate, dating from its creation in the 1990s, was to offer daycare spaces to teen mothers to help them stay in school.

But the daycare centre doesn’t get enough money to do that right now, Beaton said.

“It is clear that adhering to the Iqaluit DEA’s demands are unsustainable due to the operational and financial requirements of running the IIDC’s daycare,” Beaton wrote.

“They would put a great deal of pressure on the IIDC’s ability to provide much needed daycare services to families to the point that the IIDC may be forced to cease operations,” she said.

Most of the financial problems, she says, are due to the requirements of current funding programs.

“Inuit” students are not “Inuit” if they take GN daycare money

In Iqaluit, student parents can benefit from funding to subsidize childcare through two programs: the Government of Nunavut’s Young Parents Stay Learning, or YPSL, program, and a program offered by the Inuit-owned Kakivak Association.

At the high school, the Department of Education said it works with guidance councillors to set the students up with childcare funding through the YPSL program.

However, for a daycare to be eligible for funding through the Kakivak program, at least 50 per cent of the children at the daycare must be Inuit.

The problem is that if Inuit students do get funding from the GN’s YPSL program, even if they are Inuit, those Inuit students are not counted as Inuit in the eyes of Kakivak.

“As per the conditions of the Kakivak program, students receiving YPSL funding are disqualified from being counted as Inuit parents for this funding,” Beaton wrote.

“Without non-students, the IIDC would not be able to access this funding,” she said.

Beaton said if the daycare were to accept more children of student parents, the daycare would no longer be able to cover its costs.

So in a recent update to its handbook, the high school daycare says it can offer spaces to only five students at a time, with 19 other spots open to non-students.

Workman cited an April 23 letter from Pujjuut Kusugak, the deputy minister of education, which said all DEAs across Nunavut have the right to ensure that students are prioritized at school daycares.

But Beaton said it’s financially impossible for the daycare at Inuksuk High School to do that.

Infants cost more money

The minimum age for infants at the daycare is also a matter that is in dispute.

While the DEA argues that the daycare should allow infants under the age of 11 months, Beaton says that’s too expensive.

As well, because the two available funding programs are insufficient to operate daycares in Nunavut, the daycare centre has increased its daily rates for non-students, Beaton said.

YPSL covers $33 per day for student parents, but only for days when the student attends class.

Beaton said the actual cost of offering a daycare space to the child of a student is $17 to $21 per day more than that.

And for infants, the actual cost is $21 per day higher, she said.

“There is an approximate $6,000 shortfall in annual revenue per student child,” Beaton wrote.

Another problem that complicates the issue is that there was no written document stating what expectations the daycare must meet to continue using the space at the high school.

While the Department of Education says that Nunavut DEAs have authority over school-run daycares, the daycare board believes their daycare is independent and that they can create their own policies as they see fit.

“The IIDC is a non-profit community daycare overseen by a volunteer board. As such, it is a private entity, independent of the Iqaluit DEA, with authority over its own operations,” Beaton said.

The three parties want to hold a meeting to create the daycare’s first memorandum of understanding to resolve the dispute.

But the daycare board wants this meeting to be held in private. The Iqaluit DEA refuses to do that, arguing there’s no reason not to hold such a meeting in public.

The Iqaluit DEA was to have held a community meeting at the Nakasuk School library yesterday evening. The Inuksuk daycare centre was on their agenda.

Note: The Kakivak Association disputes the Inuksuk Infant Development Centre’s characterization of the apparent conflict between the funding criteria used by Kakivak’s childcare programs and the Young Parents Stay Learning program run by the Government of Nunavut.

IIDC Response Letter to IDE… by on Scribd

Share This Story

(0) Comments