Concerns rise about future of daycares in federal buildings

Dec 09, 2014

Julie Ireton, CBC News

tupper-tots.jpgSeveral Ottawa daycare centres operating out of federal government buildings worry about their financial future after a decision to rescind the policy to subsidize daycare rents.

In the early 1990s, the federal government helped establish workplace daycare centres in federal buildings across the country, providing a full-rent subsidy as long as 70 per cent of the spaces were used by parents working in the public service.

At one point, about a dozen daycare centres existed for public servants from Edmonton to Shawinigan, Que., including five in Ottawa.

The Treasury Board recently rescinded its policy to subsidize daycare rents, putting the onus on individual departments to "establish and maintain such facilities when they are a sound investment for the well-being of employees and the organization."

On Dec. 1, the Tupper Tots daycare facility in the Sir Charles Tupper Building on Riverside Drive announced its closure.

The Tupper Tots board of directors said the money problems began when the federal subsidy was cancelled and the daycare was asked to pay more than $230,000 a year in rent.

"I'm angry with … the federal government for basically turning their back on their own employees who needed access to childcare," said Shellie Bird of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents daycare workers at Tupper Tots.

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