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'It's shocking': Parents scrambling as North York daycare closes with 1 day's notice

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Willowbrae Academy sent letter on Thursday advising parents they're closing their doors Friday
Publication Date: 
9 Aug 2019
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Parents are scrambling after receiving a letter from a daycare in North York Thursday afternoon advising them of the facility's closure on Friday.

The operators of Willowbrae Academy, near Don Mills and York Mills roads, claimed they received a notice from their landlord Wednesday, advising them that repairs to the roof would begin, blocking the use of the playground.

Due to government regulations requiring that a daycare must have an outdoor space, the operators said they had no choice but to shut down temporarily.  

"It's shocking because our kid is pretty settled here," said Nifi Gupta, who brought her daughter to the daycare for the last time Friday morning. 

Tareq Hosseini showed up to the daycare on Friday not knowing it was the last day of operation.

"All of a sudden, they told us they're closing the daycare," he said.

"They should at least let us know like five, six months before. We're like devastated."

'Merely a private business'

Martha Friendly, executive director of the Child Care Resource and Research Unit, says, unfortunately, parents have no recourse.

"It's merely a private business and there's nothing to really safeguard any kind of parents' rights," she said.

"I could see that the centre is offering them a refund... But they don't have child care anymore. So this really interferes with their ability to go to work, to go to school, basically to live."

CBC News reached out to the daycare and the landlord of the building but got no response up to the time of publication of this article. 

In the meantime, parents are concerned about finding an alternative for their children.

"We're trying to find another place but I'm sure every place around here, you got to stay on the waiting list five months [or] six months," said Hosseini.

But with a daycare system already experiencing overcrowding issues, Friendly says it's very unlikely these parents will be able to find a spot anytime soon. 

"It's a very bad time of year to start looking for child-care space... There's a huge shortage," she said.

Friendly is calling for more government regulation on child care in the hopes of preventing something like this happening again.

"It needs to be accepted as a much more public responsibility and not just a regulated private operation with a little public money," she said.

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Entered Date: 
14 Aug 2019
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