Skip to main content

Regina daycare closure leaves parents scrambling for child care

Parents who depend on a Regina daycare say they've been left scrambling to find new child care spots with little notice.

Saplings Early Learning Child Care Centre is operated by Eden Care Communitites, a non-profit organization.

The northeast Regina licensed daycare in will be closing its doors effective June 29, leaving the parents of 51 children without care.

Anurag Attri is one of them.

“It's funny because they sent us a message on May 10, that they have made the decision that their intention is to move and focus towards safe and affordable community-based housing for seniors, families and people living with disabilities so they decided to close the daycare, just giving us little over a months notice to find new daycares,” Attri said.

“Which is surprising because they [shared the news] on early Childhood Educator Day with all the teachers as well. So they didn't know what was happening until that day.”

Ashley Elgert, the early childhood director at the centre run by Eden Care Communities, told CTV News that the closure has had an effect on everyone involved.

“Child care is really hard to find in Regina right now and it's upsetting for families to leave somewhere that their child has built relationships. So a closure can be very scary,” she said.

According to Elgert, 40 per cent of the families who used Sapling’s services have found alternative child care in the timeframe that they needed it.

The same can’t be said for Attri and his two-year-old child.

“I know some parents are more flexible with their work schedule and with arrangements and everything but most of them are not. [We] are not,” he said.

“They did mention in the letter as well, if the teachers are gone or if the student-teacher ratio declines, [the centre] could close early as well. So it's really uncertain. If you don't find the daycare, then what are you going to do?”

According to Elgert, members of the staff are free to interview for positions at other centres — meaning staffing levels could soon drop.

Some workers, however, are deciding whether or not to stay in the child care field following the closure.

“A lot of staff are still deciding what they want to do moving forward,” she said. “Those who are choosing to stay in the field of child care are able to interview at other centers and get positions there.”

For Attri, as well as many other parents, cost is a major factor going forward, with subsidized licensed child care spaces like the ones at Sapling, extremely hard to come by, especially at such short notice.

“We were paying $200 at this daycare, for our child’s space. Anywhere we’re looking at not subsidized we're looking anywhere around $550 to $650 a month. So that's like a $300 or $400 jump into our monthly expenditure,” he said.

“With that being said that I've called multiple centres … and they have like one-year, two-year wait times. Shortage of daycares is a problem in Saskatchewan and then just closing one on top of that.”

Elgert explained that the shortage is multi-faceted.

“Some parents have had trouble finding child care options. Child care in Regina as a whole is very scarce, especially child care that is currently funded by the Ministry of Education to receive the $10 a day child care,” she said.

“I know the Ministry of Education is working hard to put a plan in place to meet the current demands of child care spaces in the province. But unfortunately, there's also a shortage of early childhood educators, which also impacts the amount of spaces we can have in the province.”

As for Attri, he wants to see some accountability, arguing that providers should not be able to put parents in this sort of position without more warning.

“It's not just with this daycare, I think it should be more coming from the Ministry of Education or even something like more regulated decisions,” he said.

“If they are closing, they have to have ample time for parents to adjust to that. In Saskatchewan daycare is scarce."

In response to inquiries from CTV News, the Ministry of Education said it "understands the challenges" the closure creates.

"We are working to support parents in finding other child care options," the ministry said in a statement.

According to the ministry, 523 centre spaces have been announced for the city of Regina and are in “various stages of development.” Top Stories

Stay Connected