News Local

Day-care centres helping parents during strike

By Matt Day, Ottawa Sun


With thousands of elementary school students out of classrooms Tuesday, day-care centres and similar organizations are expecting higher numbers.

About 1,600 teachers will participate in a one-day strike protesting the passing of Bill 115, the Liberal government’s Putting Students First Act, leaving parents to find alternative solutions on how to care for their children.

“We just thought that because we don’t have programs running that day … we would offer something to fill it in and give the kids something to do and parents some peace of mind,” said Amy Brunning, program co-ordinator for Heartland Forest, a 93-acre fully accessible nature experience.

The charitable organization is offering a full-day program for 6- to 12-year-olds based on their winter day camp. Brunning said she can accommodate up to 20 children and that they will be spending the day hiking, doing scavenger hunts, creating crafts and sitting around a campfire.

“I normally run these camps anyway so we don’t expect any problems,” she said.

At a cost of $25 per child, Brunning said she expects the spots to fill up quickly.

Luckily for parents, they have other options available should they still be scrambling for a babysitter or day-care service.

The Boys and Girls Club’s Niagara Falls centre has enough space for 30 children and is expanding its service to full-day programming.

“We’re treating it very similar to a professional development day,” said executive director JoAnne Turner. “It’s not unusual for us to run this type of program when schools are down.”

The club will be providing care from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at a cost of $30 per child with subsidies available for those who need it.

The YMCA of Niagara is offering a one-day camp at its St. Catharines location on Niagara St.

The 28 YMCA child-care centres located at schools across Niagara are still offering full-day care to families enrolled in the program. Interim CEO Janet St. Amand said she expects 500 children to be accommodated across Niagara in that program.

Children ages 4 to 12 are accepted for the one-day camp as long as spots are available.

“The YMCA is looking to support families in this situation,” said St. Amand, mentioning prices vary and to visit for more details.

A Child’s World, like other day-care centres across Niagara, will be operating full-day service instead of only before and after school services.

For those looking to spend extra time with their young ones, the city of Niagara Falls is hosting public skating at the Gale Centre. Regular rates still apply, however.

BILL 115:

  • Government imposes two-year contract on teachers
  • Includes:
  • Two-year wage freeze
  • Sick days reduced to 10 from 20
  • Ends banking unused sick days
  • Power to end strike or lockout without debate

Where kids can go:
Boys and Girls Club (Niagara Falls)
8800 McLeod Rd.

Heartland Forest
8400 Kalar Rd.

YMCA of Niagara


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