Letter to the Editor: Local daycare may be forced to close

Dear Editor,

A non-profit daycare that has been serving the Ottawa community for almost 30 years should not be forced to close because the federal government insists on doubling the rent.

The rent increase to the “market value” – to the tune of about $150,000 per year, equivalent to what a family may pay for the mortgage of a small home – is going to cripple Garderie Tunney’s Daycare to the point that it faces closure. The Board appealed repeatedly to the government. All it got was a measly 3-month rent freeze, so that, as one government official put it, “the daycare management and parents can make suitable arrangements.” In other words, they would need to find care for their children somewhere else.

Cecilia Lei, parent and Vice President, Board of Directors of Garderie Tunney’s Daycare. Photo by Andrea Tomkins

What is the legacy of the federal government getting about $70,000 more annually? The daycare would likely close. 18 people would lose their jobs. 49 kids would not have childcare.

I understand that people may legitimately question why taxpayers should subsidize childcare. But you know what? Just as healthy people pay into our universal health care system to support people with chronic illness, just as people without kids pay into an education system, taxpayers should support daycare because it allows parents to go to work, which in turn contributes to our country’s productivity.

Minister Jean-Yves Duclos understands this well. But closing a daycare would not be consistent with his childcare initiative.

The daycare is not asking for a handout. But increasing revenue is not feasible right away. What we need is an immediate rent freeze. This will give us time to retrofit the space, increase programming, and go through the lengthy licensing approvals process with the Province.

Please support this critical social infrastructure in your community by signing the e-petition at: https://petitions.parl.gc.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-362.

In less than a month, on Canada Day, the full rent increase will kick in. There is a narrow window of opportunity to make this right.

Cecilia Lei
Parent and Vice-President, Board of Directors
Garderie Tunney’s Daycare

[Update: Public Services and Procurement Canada, the landlord of the building, has stated publicly that it is negotiating with the daycare. But despite a number of attempts by the Board of Directors to sit down with department officials, a meeting has yet to take place.]


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