Child care is a heart-ache for northern mine workers

Susan and Rhonda work at fly-in mine sites in northern Saskatchewan, 7 days in, 7 days out.

“The way child care has affected us is complicated. Who is willing to look after your child for a full 7 days? Who do you trust with your child when you’re not able to be home in an emergency? These are questions you ask yourself as a parent,” Rhonda said.

Working in an isolated environment creates so many complications with child care, and more so as a single parent. “You rely on family and friends, who essentially becomes a second parent to your child. This is a hard concept to get accustomed to,” Susan noted. “As a mother, there wasn’t a time when I was away at work that I didn’t think and worry about my daughter.”

No matter where you live, child care is a common issue. Most services have restricted hours, based on what is perceived as regular working hours. “This doesn’t help a person who works shift work or has an overnight trip. No existing daycare or service wants a child for the 7-in, 7-out rotation!” Rhonda explained. ”You need to have someone willing to drop your child off and pick them up. When you’re on your week off, you don’t necessarily require daycare but still have to pay for the full space.”

“My daughter is 20 now, but I think back at how hard it was to arrange someone to look after her,” Susan said. ”Family and friends are a great support system but are not always an option.”

These two northern Saskatchewan women agree: Having a greater selection of safe, quality and affordable child care options would be a benefit to families, including 24-hour care.

We’ve withheld Susan and Rhonda’s last names for privacy reasons.