Agenda Index City of Vancouver


Date: November 26, 1997

Author/Local: PCoates/6042

CC File No. 2402


Standing Committee on City Services and Budgets


Director of Community Services Division, Social Planning


Childcare Emergency Program Stabilization Grant for

Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House


THAT Council approve a one time $15,000 Childcare Emergency Stabilization grant to Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House. Source of funds: 1997 Childcare Grants Program, 1997 Operating Budget.


Noting that the shortfall is the responsibility of the province, as a result of the suspension of the wage support program, and that the facility requiring wage support is a provincial facility, the General Manager of Community Services submits the above grant request for CONSIDERATION.


On March 13, 1997, Council approved the 1997 allocation of $665,895 for the Childcare Grants Program.

Approval of grant recommendations requires eight affirmative votes.


This report recommends approval of a one time Childcare Emergency Program Stabilization grant to ensure the ongoing sustainability of the childcare programs at Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House.


On March 13, 1997, City Council approved a budget of $665,895 for the Childcare Grants Program. To date Council has approved allocations totalling $650,895, leaving a balance of $15,000. The Program Stabilization grant category is specifically set up to respond to emergency requests from non-profit organizations that are experiencing serious financial difficulties which could result in imminent closure of one or more of their licensed childcare programs. The grant applicant is required to meet with the City’s Childcare Co-ordinator to discuss the reasons for the difficulties, the steps already taken by the organization to rectify the situation and the longer term plan to ensure the sustainability of the childcare programs. A detailed analysis of the childcare budgets and the organization’s financial policies and procedures is undertaken to ensure that maximum efficiencies are being achieved.


Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House currently operates one out-of-school program, two part-time preschool programs, one "3-5" group daycare program and one toddler program. In total their childcare programs serve over 200 families. This is in addition to their other community programs for children, youth, families and seniors. As noted in the attached letter (see Appendix A), the Neighbourhood House has been serving the south Hastings Sunrise/Broadway Corridor area for over 30 years.

In October 1995, the Liquor Distribution Branch put out a public call for proposals for an experienced non-profit childcare operator for their new on-site 37 space childcare centre at 3260 East Broadway. After checking with the provincial Child Care Branch about funding availability for enhancing staff wages under the Wage Supplement Initiative (WSI), Frog Hollow submitted a proposal, was the successful bidder and entered into an agreement with the Liquor Distribution Branch. In June 1996, when the centre was opened, the Neighbourhood House in good faith, submitted a WSI application to the provincial Child Care Branch. It was not until October 1996 that they were informed by phone that all new WSI funding had been frozen since October 31, 1995. In April 1997, the Child Care Branch finally publicly confirmed in writing, that the freeze was official and that all new programs opened after October 31, 1995 would be put on a waiting list for future consideration if and when funding became available. Meantime programs opened prior to October 31st, continue to receive the full WSI payment. This two tiered approach is creating serious inequities within and among childcare operators.

The unanticipated loss of revenue has created a serious problem for Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House. They have amassed a deficit of $23,000 over the last 18 months, which threatens not only their childcare programs but also has the potential to undermine the viability of all their neighbourhood house programs. The Neighbourhood House has activelylobbied the Child Care Branch, their MLA, the Minister of Women’s Equality and the Minister for Children and Families for reconsideration, but to no avail, even though the childcare facility is a provincially owned asset and the Province accepted the tender knowing that it was dependent upon WSI funding.

Frog Hollow has now joined forces with other Vancouver childcare operators who have more recently been affected by the freeze or are hoping to open up new childcare programs within the next year. Fred Milowsky, the Vancouver Regional Operating Officer for the Ministry for Children and Families (MCF) is now working with the group in an attempt to highlight the matter for the relevant officials in Victoria. He is extremely supportive because he regards childcare as a key component in a comprehensive early intervention strategy for young children and families. While there is a hope that the freeze may be lifted given that some funding flexibility may emerge out of the MCF program restructuring process, it is highly unlikely that retroactive dollars will be available.

In the meantime, the Neighbourhood House has raised the fees of all their childcare programs to generate more revenue. As well, staff and parents have embarked upon an active fundraising campaign to assist with the deficit. Frog Hollow has also made an urgent request to the City for emergency help because they do not wish to be forced to close any of their childcare programs while discussions with the Province are underway.

While recognizing that the cause of this financial difficulty lies with the inadequate provincial childcare planning, policy and funding, it is the recommendation of the City Childcare Co-ordinator that a grant of $15,000 should be provided to Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House at this time. Parents using Frog Hollow’s childcare services are understandably very concerned about losing the good quality of care being provided. Also there clearly is a strong need for the service in the surrounding community given the size of the waiting lists. The City grant of $15,000 combined with Frog Hollow’s current fundraising activities, will address the deficit of $23,000 accumulated to date. The future monthly shortfall created by the lack of provincial WSI monies for the two Liquor Distribution Centre childcare programs, is being addressed by raising the childcare fees across all the Frog Hollow childcare programs. This cross-subsidization approach should help to minimize the impact of the fee increase for the low income families. Frog Hollow has also agreed to continue to spearhead the community lobby for resolution of the WSI issue and will keep the City Childcare Co-ordinator informed of any progress.


This is the final report for the 1997 Childcare grants program. Social Planning is recommending approval of a one time Program Stabilization grant of $15,000 to Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House to help address the deficit of the childcare programs and ensure thesustainability of all the Neighbourhood House childcare and community programs. This leaves no remaining balance in the 1997 Childcare Grants Fund.

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