As $10 a day daycare rolls out in Nunavut, 3 communities remain left out

Sanirajak, Grise Fiord and Resolute Bay don’t have licensed daycares

Nunavut Premier P.J. Akeeagok and Education Minister Pamela Gross stand inside the lobby of the legislative assembly on Jan. 22, shortly after announcing the territory’s child care deal with the federal government. Gross said the new policy will bolster the local economy and support young families. (Photo by David Venn)

By Meral Jamal

As of today $10 a day daycare rolls out across Nunavut but families in Sanirajak, Resolute Bay and Grise Fiord won’t reap the benefits — at least not yet. 

The territory is the first jurisdiction to implement the federal policy, which was announced by the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government in April 2021. 

There are a total of 1,082 licensed daycare spots in Nunavut to serve approximately 4,385 children aged 0 to 4 in the territory, according to the 2021 census. The territorial government wants to offer daycare at the reduced rate to 59 per cent of people in the territory by 2026.

Sanirajak is years away from getting a licensed daycare, according to senior administrative officer Louis Primeau.

“Nunavut getting $10 a day daycare doesn’t really pertain to the community until we get a daycare here, which is going to be some time off,” he said, adding that the hamlet is working on a daycare proposal with the government but it continues to be a work in progress. 

In Resolute Bay, the hamlet is doing research to see what the demand is for the service, according to acting chief administrative officer Ian Dudla. 

The hamlet put up a request on Facebook on Nov. 24 asking residents who are interested in having a licensed daycare to write a letter of support, stating how much they are willing to pay for child care and how many of their children would use it.

“A daycare in the community could potentially increase employment in Resolute Bay and/or offer training opportunities for stay-at-home parents to further improve the chances of their employability in the ever-changing labour market,” Dudla said in an email. 

Resolute Bay’s economic development officer Jeffrey Amarualik added the hamlet has been working to establish a committee that would look into child care for the past 18 months.

Grise Fiord senior administrative officer Daryl Dibblee said the territory’s northernmost hamlet is hoping to open the doors of its first licensed daycare in the new year. 

He said the municipality received funding to upgrade its hamlet building and open a daycare within it from the Government of Nunavut over the summer and will be looking into hiring a director and staff for the daycare next. 

Dibblee said a daycare in the community with a population that just tops 100 will help “people that would love to work but because of child-care needs, are unable to.” 

“We are a growing hamlet with small children, so it’s a necessary step and council has been really supportive of this,” he said.

With the launch of $10 a day daycare, centres in other communities are seeing greater demand for their services. 

For example, the Iglulik High School Daycare is now running at full capacity. Just two weeks ago, the hamlet’s District Education Authority office manager Anjam Palikkandi Nazar told Nunatsiaq News that only six out of the daycare’s 24 spots were filled.

Both the federal and territorial governments acknowledged a potential increase in demand for daycare services when Nunavut signed onto the $10 a day childcare in January 2022

As part of the five-year, $66-million partnership, federal Children, Families and Social Development Minister Karina Gould said last month that close to $16 million will go towards increasing wages for early childhood educators, and to help grow and retain staff.

The goal is to add 238 daycare spots by 2026.

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(12) Comments:

  1. Posted by Sad on

    Clyde River has no licensed daycares either.

  2. Posted by Double Standard on

    A subsidy for those already earning enough to pay full daycare costs for their one thousand children. Nothing for the parents of 3,300 other children, parents who either cannot afford daycare or could not find daycare.
    .
    Those who have, will have more. Those who don’t have, will get nothing.
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    Socialism for the rich. Criminalization for the poor.

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    • Posted by Consistency on

      You might not be completely wrong about that right now… However the rich you are talking about will not always have kids in the daycare system. In 2-3 years everyone will be equally fighting for the spots. Because for $10/day (less then a couple of pops) a lot of people won’t have to look after their own kids…. Barely have to have a job even.

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    • Posted by Single mother on

      Most daycares are first come first serve. Yes there’s priority for Staff, board members and siblings of children in the daycare.
      You have to apply to daycare the day you find out your expecting. Don’t wait until the baby is born and then complain the lists are long. There are very few registered daycares for the population we have.
      The problem is not enough daycares. But daycare staff don’t make a good wage. Cannot live off of a care giver position.

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      • Posted by Oh? on

        But they do make a good wage. $25-30 an hour and no educational requirements. Problem is attendance and staff not showing up, which means the daycare closes, which means the parents can’t go to work.

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        • Posted by sure on

          Also $25 is seen as not enough, particularly when the GN pays in the $40/hr for janitorial work (and you don’t have to deal with taking care of babies and children).

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          • Posted by Thomas Shelby on

            If a person goes to work every day and save their money for food to feed themselves and rent etc… $25-30 should be lots. But if you take a day off every third day then that cuts into the paycheck and it won’t work. Also, I doubt the GN pays $40/hour for janitorial unless the worker has been in the position for 20 years maybe. The bottom line is the staff need to show up every day at the day cares for it to work, for both the worker and the staff and daycare.

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            • Posted by Single mother on

              So can you do the math for me. As a single income you can rent a 1 bedroom apartment in Iqaluit at nunastar at about $2000 a month and still afford power and food ect…
              What about going out, vacations, getting a vehicle, and many other luxuries that we all want in life.

  3. Posted by Gonewinter on

    All out of town workers should pay more 10 buxs

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    • Posted by Putting this out there on

      So if you live in Pond Inlet and someone moves from Baker Lake for work they should pay more?
      How long does someone have to live in your community to not be an out of towner?

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  4. Posted by Arctic Circle on

    this will definatley help me and my family with the high cost of living going on, inflation rate etc.

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  5. Posted by Uvanga on

    Now report all the non registered caregivers so they can get licensed. This would then benefit the ones that are not getting the $10 a day.

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