Groups want federal protection against foreign child care takeover


October 31, 2007 - Ottawa Groups want federal protection against foreign child care takeover

OTTAWA -- Child care advocates warned today that a foreign corporation is trying to establish a controlling-interest in Canadian child care.   To avert this threat, the advocacy group, Code Blue for Child Care is asking Prime Minister Harper to give Royal Recommendation to Bill C303, the Early Learning and Child Care Act.  This Act, which discourages expansion of for-profit child care, returns to the House of Commons for a decisive vote on November 20.

123 Busy Beavers Learning Centres has only been in the country a few months but it is reported that at least 15 centres have already been acquired  (we need to check this out).  “Despite the home-grown name,” says Code Blue spokesperson, Morna Ballantyne, “123 Busy Beavers is closely linked to the world’s largest child care corporation, ABC Learning Centres of Australia and the 123 group of companies. This linked group of companies operates over 2,500 programs worldwide in Australia, the United States, Britain, New Zealand, China and other countries.

“Foreign ownership of Canadian child care will kill the dream of a pan-Canadian child care system,” said Jody Dallaire, Chairperson of the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada.  “Our children and families deserve quality, accessible, community-based child care not some gigantic off-shore warehouse operation.”

“In Australia, it is well documented that ABC’s financial success and phenomenal growth has been based upon rapid expansion, compromised quality, spiraling fees for parents and sucking up public funding,” said Ballantyne.  “There is no reason for Canadians to stand for this.”

Bill C 303 has the support of all the opposition parties in Parliament, Code Blue is urging Harper and the Conservative Government to drop their opposition and proclaim The Child Care Act to ensure that future federal funding goes to children, not to enrich shareholders.