Caregivers worry deficit at Sarnia Daycare could lead to cuts across Lambton


Janice McGuire wants to make sure any solution to keep a Sarnia day care open doesn’t hurt other childcare facilities supported by Lambton County.

Lambton County staff recommended closing Coronation Park Daycare in Sarnia since there is a $1.1 million yearly deficit. Dozens of people recently came to Lambton County Council to express concern saying the county didn’t give staff the opportunity to look for savings to keep the facility open. Others worried about how difficult it would be to find suitable day care with easy access in Coronation Park closed.

But McGuire, who is the executive director of Generations Day Care, sees the issue in a different light. She manages the 348 licensed day care spaces in Petrolia and Wyoming and the staff which runs them.

McGuire says she has nothing but respect for the Coronation Park program, but if it is allowed to stay open, and the county has to find $1.1 million to support it, other children’s programs will suffer.

“There could be reduced spaces (in the county) we could return to lengthy waiting list for spaces, special needs funding  may be trimmed, there will be waits for services including necessary therapies,” McGuire says.

And she’s concerned a wage subsidy which the county provides would disappear. Coronation Park workers are unionized and make nearly double what most early childhood educators in the county pay. “We could lose the wage subsidy which brings our meager wage close to a living salary,” she says.

“These effects all have to be taken into consideration,” she says adding if there is a way to continue running Coronation Park without cutting other services she would be happy.

Council decided to give the daycare, its union and the parents 21-days to come up with ways to eliminate the $1.1 million deficit.

McGuire says it will but a tough conversation but “as long as province forces us to treat childcare as a business…these tough decisions are going to be continue to be made.”