Closure of Bellevue Child Care Centre fails Torontonians

The following letter from CUPE Local 79 President Tim Maguire was delivered to the General Manager of Children’s Services, questioning why the City is allowing Bellevue Child Care Centre to close when there’s such a great need for child care in Toronto.


 

Dear Ms. Baxter-Trahair:

RE:      Bellevue Child Care Centre closure, July 19, 2013

CUPE Local 79 was dismayed to learn that Municipal Child Care Services intends to close down Bellevue Child Care Centre on July 19, 2013.

In Toronto, child care spaces are as precious as gold. There are over 20,000 children on the waiting list for subsidized child care space, and many more awaiting non-subsidized spaces with the waiting list continuing to grow each day. Parents and families, who require and depend on the care provided to them through Bellevue Child Care have been put into a position which leaves them scrambling to find alternate care with only 3 short months’ notice.

CUPE Local 79 was informed by the City, that the majority of the parents at Bellevue are full fee paying parents, and as such, do not fit into Children’s Services mandate, however, the parents at Bellevue were told that the closure was due to the increasing expense of maintaining a childcare in a historic building, and the City’s inability to retrofit the building to comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Our research shows that compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act is not an issue, and that the Code only applies to new builds or major renovations. Our research also shows that the majority of parents at the centre are not full fee paying, but rather receiving subsidy.

Children’s Services own Mission statement claims that “Toronto Children’s Services promotes access to high quality early learning, child care and supports for families through a well-planned and managed system.

Children’s Services is:

  • Committed to children
  • Supportive of families
  • Building community capacity”

Closing a child care centre which is committed to children, supportive of families and builds community capacity not only goes against the City’s own Mission Statement but in CUPE Local 79’s opinion, is a betrayal of the community that requires these much needed services.

In a city starved of child care spaces, particularly infant space, this news is even more upsetting.

CUPE Local 79 is extremely concerned with the fact that the Division only gave the Local formal notice of the closure after its members were informed by letter. CUPE Local 79 members were also denied representation throughout the staff relocation process. This process occurred without any consultation with Local 79. This practice is becoming all too common and must cease immediately.

CUPE Local 79 strongly urges the City to rethink their decision. Do not close this child care centre but rather, continue to provide the parents, families and children of Bellevue Child Care Centre with the type of customer service which you proudly state that you offer.

Yours truly,

Tim Maguire
President