OSNS is a non-profit, pediatric and youth therapy centre focusing on the assessment, education, and individualized habilitation/rehabilitation treatment of developmental challenges in children aged 0-16. The Penticton-based organization is facing extreme financial hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)

Penticton’s OSNS facing financial crisis amid COVID-19

Future of the pediatric and youth therapy centre is in jeopardy due to lack of funding

The OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre in Penticton is experiencing “significant financial and operational hardships” during the COVID-19 crisis, explained the organization in a news release.

Although the organization has taken significant actions to lessen the monetary impacts of COVID-19, they explained that their future is in jeopardy due to the pandemic.

The OSNS group is a non-profit, pediatric and youth therapy centre focusing on the assessment, education, and individualized habilitation and rehabilitation treatment of developmental challenges in children aged zero to 16. They have been assisting children in the South Okanagan and Similkameen for over 40 years. In 2019 alone they assisted 1600 children and their families.

READ MORE: ‘We’re all in this together’ says Penticton organization amid COVID-19 pandemic

According to the organization, COVID-19 has been particularly impactful on them partially because of their reliance on community events to raise money.

The OSNS’ operations are mainly funded through the provincial government, local fundraising events and individualized fees.

The majority of community fundraising events there were vital to funding the OSNS have also been cancelled. With that, OSNS is struggling to meet its fixed cost obligations.

Funding for early development and intervention was challenging even prior to the COVID-19 crisis, they explained.

Within the last six months, two child development centres in the province have announced they will be ceasing their autism treatment programs.

READ MORE: Penticton’s OSNS benefits from $10,000 RBC grant

All non-essential services of OSNS have been put on hold since March 18. This has meant that fees for service treatment funding and program fees have been lost.

Many OSNS employees, the organization said, have been furloughed or have reduced their hours of work to keep the centre viable.

OSNS has been in contact with federal MP, Dick Cannings and provincial MLA, Dan Ashton. According to OSNS, they have both been “incredibly responsive and compassionate” to the difficulties faced.

However, they say the federal and provincial governments have not yet responded to a COVID-19 action plan for non-profit early intervention centres.

OSNS has applied for the federal wage subsidy to cover employee wages. However, the implementation of the subsidy and its impact on the centre is unknown at this time.

To learn more about the OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre, visit osns.org

READ MORE: Trudeau announces 75% wage subsidy for small businesses amid COVID-19

READ MORE: Lessons in kindness and sharing at OSNS centre

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