Toronto-area parents looking for child care may be forced to call Brisbane or New York to find a space in their neighbourhood centre if corporate daycare takes hold in Canada, says an Australian academic on a national tour to warn about the phenomenon in her country.
A company linked to Brisbane-based ABC Learning Centres – the world's largest multinational child-care chain – has bought several Alberta daycares and made offers for centres in B.C. and Ontario.
And Canadians should be wary, said social policy professor Deborah Brennan, who has advised governments on child-care policy.
"The market approach has been a spectacular failure in Australia and I think it would be prudent to be concerned here," said Brennan, whose trip is being sponsored by an Alberta public policy group and various university, labour and child-care advocacy organizations.
Allowing these companies to establish operations in Canada pits business interests against the needs of children, she said in an interview before speaking to students and faculty at the University of Toronto yesterday.
"Shareholders seek high returns on their investment while children require high-quality care that is expensive to deliver," she said.
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