Garderie Tunney’s Daycare is reopening and Child Care Now is celebrating.
The centre shut down last fall after struggling with costs since 2015 when its landlord, the federal government, decided to start charging commercial rent.
The centre had used a variety of temporary rent reprieves, subsidies and grants to stay open. But when those ran out, the centre closed its doors, after 32 years of providing bilingual child care to thousands of kids.
Parents from the centre and child care advocates across the country launched a campaign to bring attention to the closure.
“The reopening of Garderie Tunneys Daycare is an example of the good that can be accomplished through persistent child care advocacy,” said Morna Ballantyne, Executive Director of Child Care Now.
The campaign got the attention of Ottawa-Centre MP, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, who committed to investigate. Ottawa City Councillor Jeff Leiper also stepped in and advocated for the reopening, as did Joel Harden, Member of Provincial Parliament for Ottawa-Centre. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh raised the issue in the House of Commons and Prime Minister Trudeau promised to address the situation.
Ballantyne said senior officials with Public Services and Procurement Canada and Health Canada played an instrumental role in bringing Garderie Tunneys Daycare back under the ambit of the government’s policy on workplace daycares which allows for a rent waiver.
Ballantyne also credited Andrew Fleck Children’s Services — Ottawa’s largest not-for-profit child care operator — for supporting the centre’s Board of Directors.
“Working together we saved one of Ottawa’s oldest licensed day care centres, and one of the few that has both francophone and bilingual programs,” said Ballantyne.
“Of course, if Canada had publicly funded, universally accessible child care programs, the situation would never have arisen in the first place,” she added. “This is why we continue to press all levels of government to build a Canada-wide system of early learning and child care as part of Canada’s recovery from the pandemic.”