Skip to main content

Arnprior daycare's 'non-profit' claim questioned

Printer-friendly version
Mills, Stu
Publication Date: 
7 Jul 2016



An Arnprior, Ont., father says he feels cheated and deceived by a local daycare operator who called the private business a non-profit child care facility.

Children's Universe opened as a daycare centre with about 60 spaces at 57 McLachlin St. S. in Arnprior four years ago.

In addition to the facility in Arnprior, Children's Universe Daycares Inc. also runs two centres in Kanata, two in Blackburn Hamlet and a sixth in Orléans.

The guide given to new parents at the Arnprior location calls the centre a "Non-Profit Daycare centre offering a variety of programs to service a wide age range of children in a safe and inviting facility."

Chris Couper said for him, it was that non-profit status that tipped the balance in favour of Children's Universe when he was choosing a daycare for his then two-year-old daughter, Laura.

"You're putting your profits back into the business, your employees, the equipment, professional development," said Couper. "Non-profit was the way we wanted to go for a daycare for Laura."

But, in May, Renfrew County's social services committee determined the daycare's Arnprior location was actually a for-profit business and recommended against entering into a fee subsidy service agreement with the centre. The agreement would have allowed for the allocation of reserved childcare spaces for low-income families, subsidized by the county.

Peter Emon, warden for Renfrew County, said officials with Renfrew's child care services office spoke with the daycare's owner and CEO, Patrick Gomes, and found "conflicting information regarding the organization's not-for-profit status."

Emon said staff checked the daycare's website, which describes the operation as a business and makes no mention of it being a non-profit. He said it isn't enough that the daycare isn't profitable, as he said Gomes has contended, for it to be granted non-profit status in the eyes of county administrators.

"We went to the Canada Revenue Agency website to get the definition of what a not-for-profit is because you have to have a common understanding of that or anybody could make an application to be a not-for-profit," Emon said.

Nor is there any sign the daycare has been holding regular board meetings, as registered non-profits are required to do.

The numbered corporation behind all six Children's Universe daycares, 848963799RC0001, is registered under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act, but Gomes calls himself the "owner and CEO of the company."

The Children's Universe Daycare Centres Inc. website lists a policy and procedure manual and a playground policy manual for sale as part of a $10,000 franchise fee.

Patrick Gomes didn't respond to repeated requests for an interview, but said in an email that he's meeting with his lawyer on Thursday, and that the controversy surrounding the Arnprior location is "now getting out of hand."

"The staff are fantastic, nothing bad to say about them at all," says Couper, whose daughter is home with a babysitter for the summer.

"But it makes me question the motivation of the owner in being duplicitous about the status of the daycare," he said. "I feel cheated, a little deceived by it.

"He may be saying he doesn't understand that it was supposed to be a non-profit, but I think he has an obligation to understand when he's taking my money."

-reprinted from CBC News

Entered Date: 
13 Jul 2016
Premium Drupal Themes by Adaptivethemes