Whitehorse daycare shuts down on 'extremely short notice'
Parents were called Friday informing them Cheeky Monkeys would close after the weekend
A Whitehorse daycare closed suddenly this week, leaving parents scrambling to find new spaces and asking for a refund.
Molly Keizer's 20-month-old son was one of 50 children enrolled at the Cheeky Monkeys daycare, on Baxter Street. She says she got a call after 3 p.m. last Friday.
"'It was a speaker-phone call with the owner of the daycare, and a government worker from Child Services. They told me that effective immediately, the daycare was closing and we no longer had childcare," Keizer said.
She says the owner didn't provide a reason.
"I asked why, and the owner said she was just done with it," Keizer said. "She didn't really give specifics."
Keizer says that during the call, the Yukon government employee reassured her that the closure had nothing to do with safety concerns, and that the "children were not in any jeopardy whatsoever."
Keizer was paying about $850 a month in fees. She says her husband later asked the owner for a partial refund and was denied.
"I wonder about the legality of just closing the daycare and taking everyone's money and leaving them high-and-dry with no childcare. That seems odd to me, and I wonder what actually happened," she said.
'The CRA came after me,' owner says
The daycare's owner, Andi Worden, told CBC that her business problems started with "bad book-keeping" that was eventually discovered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
"When the bad book-keeping was caught, the CRA came after me," she said.
According to Worden, she had been working with the CRA on a payment plan since the summer, but by the end of last week she was told "they weren't going to work with me." That's when Worden told parents her facility was closing.
"It was pretty much my only choice. I got backed into a corner and that was all I could do," she said.
"Had I known this was going down, I would have closed long before and given everyone proper notice ... I realize I've got some angry staff, I've got some angry parents."
Worden says she can't pay employees or refund parents because the CRA has frozen her bank accounts. She's now hoping to work with others to help them try to open a new daycare, under new management.
She would not say how much money is owed to the CRA.
'No issue with care' says Yukon government
Pat Living, a spokesperson for Yukon's department of Health and Social Services, reiterated the department had no concerns over health or safety at the facility.
"The children were never in any danger, there was no issue with the quality of care," Living said.
The decision to close was announced as permanent, and the daycare has lost its business licence. To re-open, the owners would need to reapply for a licence as though it were a new business.
The territorial government will now update its public list of daycares, scrubbing Cheeky Monkeys from the list.
Living says that Yukon's department of Childcare Services has been helping affected parents find new spaces.
"Given this was extremely short notice, we did the calling around," she said. "We have found enough spaces to cover."
Parents can call 1-867-667-3492 to speak with someone at the department who can refer to daycares with available spaces.