Ministry of Education Taking Action on Daycare Complaints
On Tuesday, July 9, the ministry was informed of a child who had passed away in an unlicensed child care setting. After being notified of the incident, ministry staff reviewed files to determine whether any complaints had been received or site visits conducted to this particular provider. At the time it was believed that a single complaint had been received by the ministry in November of 2012, with a site visit conducted and a letter sent to the provider, ordering them to comply with the Day Nurseries Act.
However, upon further investigation it was discovered earlier today that two other complaints were submitted to ministry staff regarding the number of children at this daycare. One of the complaints was received in October 2012, while another complaint was received in December of 2012. Unfortunately, site visits were not conducted following either of these complaints.
This was a clear non-compliance with ministry policy. It has been a longstanding policy to conduct an initial site visit within 5 business days for all complaints regarding unlicensed child care providers who may be caring for more than five children under the age of 10. The ministry is currently reviewing this lack of compliance and will take appropriate action as necessary.
To ensure the proper processes are followed going forward, the deputy minister has instructed the ministry to take the following action:
- The ministry will conduct an immediate review of the complaints received over the past year to determine the scope of compliance with current processes. The ministry is reviewing all complaints received at all regional offices in the last 12 months to ensure that appropriate follow-up has been undertaken. This review will be completed within a week.
- Ministry resources will be allocated to ensure any outstanding complaints will be addressed and responded to immediately.
- We are putting in place a new and ongoing process with a dedicated ministry staff person to ensure appropriate follow up on each and every complaint received.
- In addition to an ongoing police investigation, the ministry is conducting a separate investigation into the daycare provider to determine whether there are grounds to lay charges under the Day Nurseries Act. Part of the investigation will include talking to all of the parents to determine how many children were in the care of this daycare provider. Possible penalties include up to $2,000/day for days on which too many children were at the daycare, up to 1 year jail sentences, and an injunction to prevent the provider from operating a daycare.
The ministry will take all additional steps to ensure all processes and procedures are consistently followed in the future.