- Contributed                                Little Owl Academy owner Amanda Worms is frustrated with the province’s lack of organization regarding her subsidy payments as part of the childcare reduction fee initiative.

- Contributed Little Owl Academy owner Amanda Worms is frustrated with the province’s lack of organization regarding her subsidy payments as part of the childcare reduction fee initiative.

B.C. daycare owner frustrated over lack of payments from provincial program

Amanda Worms of Little Owl Academy has not received subsidy payments on time for months

A Kelowna childcare centre owner is growing increasingly frustrated with the provincial government after it failed to provide her with on-time subsidy payments for the last two months.

Amanda Worms, owner of two Little Owl Academy daycare services in the Central Okanagan, said she had to reach into her line of credit to pay her staff because the province has not provided her with the payments as part of a new childcare fee reduction initiative.

The program was implemented last April.

“We had to opt in to order to give our parents a fee reduction of $350 for an infant toddler spot and $150 for a child from three to Kindergarten,” she said.

“It reduced revenues for facilities that they expected to have for the first of the month, so the commitment from the government is that it is always going to be paid before the first of the month. The issue with it is for a facility of my size, that’s over $20,000.

RELATED: Why some B.C. daycares didn’t opt in to subsidy program

“Now this is the second month in a row that I haven’t been paid by the first and I’m still trying to come back from last month’s issue.”

She also recently found out that families had been deleted from her filing system, which she was told was because of an administrative glitch.

The families now have to opt into the program again, she said, and no one would have known had she not noticed the issue.

“Now you’re facing even more fees that you’re expecting to come in (that) aren’t coming,” she said. “It’s become a really big problem.”

Worms was told payments were delayed because of statutory holidays, but that doesn’t keep her from having to pay her own bills, she said.

Worms said she sent an email to the province, but has yet to receive a response from the ministry or minister responsible.

“I had to personally fund my payroll yesterday and I’m lucky that I’m a person who doesn’t have a maxed (out) line of credit, so I’m honestly hoping people understand this is a serious problem.”

She is also skeptical of the new wage enhancement program because of the way the B.C. government has handled this program.

Starting this month, the government is providing a $1 per hour wage enhancement for front-line early childhood educators working in eligible licensed child care facilities. Another $1 per hour wage enhancement is scheduled for April 1, 2020, according to the government’s website.

RELATED: Advocate says universal child care long overdue in B.C.

“There’s just been a whole bunch of really weird anomalies,” said Worms. “As a business owner, that can’t happen… we have over 250 families that we serve.”

The province responded with an emailed statement.

“The Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative has been in operation since last April. We know that providers rely on timely payments for their operations. Our payment system requests that providers submit their monthly reports by the 20th of each month and unless further information is required, payments are received by the first of the month.

“In December, we processed around 2,200 payments by Dec. 24 and the majority of these providers should have received payment by Jan. 1. The number of statutory holidays in December resulted in a short delay for some providers. All providers who submitted their reports on or before Dec. 20 should receive payment by Jan. 3.

“We understand the impact this has on child care providers, and will be looking at how we can improve the payment system to ensure that in circumstances such as this, funds are available at the start of the month to allow them to pay their staff or other related costs,” according to a ministry spokesperson.

Worms is also in the middle of opening a new facility in Lake Country.

“It’s frustrating. I’ve spent my entire Christmas break (asking if her payments can be held),” she said.

As of Jan. 3, she still hadn’t received a payment.

“When you’re dealing with big leasing companies, they don’t really give a crap if you’re not getting your payment,” she said.

@carliberry_
carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons. File photo.
MP Morrison calls Keystone XL permit cancellation ‘devastating news’

Kootenay-Columbia MP reacts to the Conservative Party’s removal of a controversial Ontario MP

L-R: Scott Robertson, Abigail Robertson, Caleb Bernhardt, Vijesh James and Oliver Marsh (missing) took part in the online Korean Consul General Cup. Photo: Submitted
Local martial artists win at online provincial tournament

Kootenay Martial Arts had five athletes participate in the Korean Consul General Cup

Interior Health reported 91 new COVID-19 cases in the region Jan. 20, 2021 and three additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
95 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health, two deaths

Another member of Vernon’s Noric House has passed

It was a quiet week for COVID-19 cases in the West Kootenay. Illustration: B.C. Centre for Disease Control
Two new cases of COVID-19 in Nelson area

The cases were confirmed for the week of Jan. 10 to 16

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission school district

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways in Mission, B.C.

Vaccine rollout is focused on health care workers first, especially those dealing with long-term care facilities. (Nathan Denette - Canadian Press)
General public shouldn’t expect vaccines until fall: Interior Health South Okanagan Similkameen

Interior Health focused on vaccinating long-term and first-line care workers

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Prince Edward Island’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. A lozenge plant in Prince Edward Island has laid off 30 workers, citing an “almost non-existent” cold and cough season amid COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Almost non-existent’ cold and cough season: P.E.I. lozenge plant lays off 30 workers

The apparent drop in winter colds across the country seems to have weakened demand for medicine and natural remedies

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Disgraced Kelowna social worker faces another class-action lawsuit

Zackary Alphonse claims he was not informed of resources available to him upon leaving government care

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Most Read