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Immigration backlog leaves dozens of Powell River daycare spaces unfilled

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Little, Simon & Stanton, Kylie
Publication Date: 
24 Aug 2022


A  daycare operator in Powell River, B.C., is pleading with the federal government to fast track immigration paperwork as it grapples with a shortage of staff.

Marjorie Jones runs the Second Nature Childcare Centre and Nature’s Way Childcare Centre in the Sunshine Coast community, and says she has 28 licensed spaces for kids she can’t fill because she doesn’t have enough early childhood educators.

“It’s very hard to find them. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to hire an immigration lawyer, and we received five positive (federal permits for foreign workers) on March 22 of this year,” she said.

“With that, I had over 300 foreign applicants, 100 of whom were fully qualified, and I had zero Canadian applicants.”

Jones said she’s selected people to fill those jobs, who have done all of the required paperwork, but their work permits have been caught in a federal backlog for months.

“These spots are critical. Our hospital has a shortage of nurses as well as other professions,” she said, noting front-line workers rely on her to care for their children so they can do their jobs.

“I have police officers on our list, I have paramedics on our list, I have six nurses due to go back (from maternity) leave in October that are on my wait list – all depending on me, but I can’t service our community.”