Families in the Outaouais looking to enrol their children in day camps may find themselves out of luck this summer as some municipal camps have either closed or reduced their program sizes due to a lack of staff.
The municipality of La Pêche says it has been forced to cancel all summer day camps after struggling to recruit employees due to a provincewide labour shortage.
"Usually we ... receive 60 CVs. This year we received 15. Seven people agreed to come for an interview and three withdrew, so there was a real shortage of manpower," La Pêche mayor Guillaume Lamoureux said in a French-language interview.
To make up for the cancelled camps, the municipality says it will work to improve summer programming in local parks in partnership with La Maison de la famille l'Étincelle, a community organization that offers activities and workshops for children and parents.
Fewer spots available in Gatineau
The city of Gatineau, Que., says it was hoping to hire 300 camp counsellors this summer, but was only able to hire 212.
The city says it even raised the hourly pay rate by $2 this year in an effort to attract more applicants. It also set up recruitment kiosks in schools and promoted the positions on social media.
While the municipal day camp planned to accept 2,548 children per week at 34 sites, the city now says it can offer only 1,836 spots at 27 sites due to insufficient staffing.
Some secondary students volunteer as counsellors at Gatineau's municipal day camp.
Thurso, Que., brings in volunteers ages 13-15 to assist older paid counsellors, and says that strategy can help day camps develop a pool of qualified applicants for future summers.
''We are able to assess them, we want to give them the interest to come and work at the age of 16," Thurso mayor Benoit Lauzon said in a French-language interview. "I think it's a good formula."