Brenda Irvine of Simply Fun Child Care stands inside her Onyx Place facility that she has been unable to open due to a lack of early childhood educators. Dan Ebenal/News Staff

Lack of staff preventing Saanich child care from opening doors

Operator of Simply Fun Child Care says she hasn’t seen it this bad in her 42 years of doing business

A new child care centre is ready to open in Saanich, but a lack of teachers is keeping its doors closed.

“For the past two years it’s been hell,” said Brenda Irvine of Simply Fun Child Care Centres. “It has never been this bad. And it causes so much stress, because it’s either that or close.”

Irvine currently operates four centres in Saanich and Victoria, but the lack of an early childhood educator is preventing her from opening a fifth centre on Onyx Place in Saanich.

“It’s been crazy, and I’ve been around for a long time,” said Irvine, who has been in business for 42 years.

Although she obtained the business licence for the Onyx Place facility this week, she is unable to open until she finds a new ECE. She has already forked out $2,100 rent plus utilities for July and August.

“I had a staff who was with me for a year. I gave her top dollar that I could ($21 an hour) and full benefits. It wasn’t enough and she wanted more,” said Irvine, adding the staff member left three weeks ago to start her own child care facility.

She says she has had an ad constantly running on numerous websites, offering $19 to $21 an hour, depending on experience. But it’s been months since she’s had any takers.

“I’m constantly using my time to find teachers. It’s not even so much a teacher, it’s a good one,” she said, adding the going rate has been $18 or $19 an hour for a long time. “Now they’re asking for $25, and financially I would have no profit.”

Irvine currently employs six staff, with one working as office manager and another serving as a floater to cover for any unexpected openings.

The provincial government has promised $136 million to fund training and wages for ECEs over the next three years, outlining a plan it its budget to bring on 2,300 new ECEs by 2021.

But Irvine believes the government is taking the wrong approach, saying providing even $2 an hour towards ECE wages would go a long way to finding a solution.

“They’ve done it backwards. The government is taking care of the families, but you can’t have day care without the teachers.”

Irvine says she does have a lead on a new early childhood educator, who she is bringing in for an interview from Vancouver this weekend.

Despite the difficulties she has encountered, Irvine isn’t ready to give up. She has plans to open a sixth child care centre, next door to her Garnet Road facility, by the end of the year.

editor@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Victoria expecting a 2020 deficit between $12.5 to $17.5 million

Victoria lost $1.2 million per month just from reduced parking fees during onset of pandemic

PHOTOS: Small crowd gathers to watch 231-tonne stacker-reclaimer loaded onto barge

The Dynamic Beast barge crane, known for work with Johnson Street Bridge, makes a return

Greater Victoria Point-in-Time count finds over 1,500 people homeless

Capital Regional District says count should be treated as an underestimate

Newly appointed Resilient Saanich committee to weigh in on new environmental policy framework

Council selects nine members, First Nations representative position remains open

Pay cuts, seating charts, COVID screening: How one Sidney venue is bringing back concerts

A growing number of bars and restaurants are welcoming back musicians under COVID-19 precautions

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

Don’t leave your hand sanitizer in the sun and other tips to stay COVID safe this summer

Being mindful of staying outside and keeping hand sanitizer, sunscreen out of the sun recommended

What exactly is ‘old growth’ B.C. forest, and how much is protected?

Forests minister Doug Donaldson doesn’t support ‘moratorium’

Canadians can travel to Hawaii in September; no quarantine with negative COVID test

Travellers will be required to pay for their own tests prior to arriving

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

Most Read