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The lack of a daycare facility in Iglulik is resulting in a high employee turnover rate and an inability for some students to attend school, according to a former resident of the community.
Jennifer McLaren said the lack of a daycare facility was one of the primary reasons she and her family left Iglulik.
"That was the largest reason," she said. "There were several reasons, but one of the largest ones was there was no daycare."
She and her husband both worked as teachers at the elementary school in Iglulik for three years and she said they would have stayed in the community longer if there were daycare facilities available.
"We would have liked to renew our contracts and stay," she said.
McLaren said she and other community members applied for funding from various organizations to start a daycare, including the Department of Education, which is responsible for funding daycare operations in Nunavut.
She said the department couldn't provide funding because it only funds existing daycare facilities.
"The Department of Education says they don't have money for building daycares. It only has money for maintaining or operating," she said.
Leslie Leafloor, early childhood development manager at the Department of Education, said many daycares currently operating in Nunavut received funding from Kakivak under the First Nations and Inuit Child Care Initiative to purchase buildings, but that money has since been depleted.
McLaren said community members in the Ajagutaq Daycare Society have been fundraising for years to try to raise money for a building.
"It seems like what we're left with is fundraising and they've got about $45,000 in fundraising that's taken place over two years time," she said.
"You can do the math and figure out how long it's going to take before we get a daycare building."
Leafloor said the department will continue to assist Iglulik in establishing a daycare.
"We have been working with the community for over 10 years to try and get a facility there," she said.
"We will continue to support the community in trying to find a location and getting a daycare open."
- reprinted from the Northern News Service