Ottawa

Tupper Tots closure leaves parents scrambling for daycare

Dozens of parents are struggling to find daycare this week after a non-profit child care centre in Ottawa declared bankruptcy.
Parents scramble to find alternative arrangements after surprise closure. 1:06

Dozens of parents are scrambling to find daycare this week after a non-profit child care centre in Ottawa declared bankruptcy.

Tupper Tots had been operating in Ottawa for 20 years but the board of directors sent parents an email on Friday announcing it was closing the doors for good.

Remmick So said the closure has left her struggling to find a placement for her two-and-a-half year-old son Brayden.

"I'm so desperate … it might not be the perfect place but I have no choice," she said.

She said her husband had to take the day off work to care for their son while she scouted for daycares.

"There was not many places that were open to find a care for my son today," she said.

In an email to parents, the Tupper Tots board of directors outlined several reasons for the bankruptcy, including the introduction of full-day kindergarten. 

The daycare on Baseline Road had 37 children but 60 spots in its facility. (CBC)
The daycare said that change made it more expensive to run the facility.

Tupper Tots also had to seek financial help after moving out of the Sir Charles Tupper Building to its most recent home on Baseline Road near Merivale Road due to a rent increase last year.

Daycare decision came after other options fell short 

Paul Fenwick, a volunteer on the daycare's board of directors, said there were 37 students at the daycare including his twin boys out of a possible 60 spots as of last week.

Fenwick said the board had pursued two plans — merging with another daycare or asking the city for more subsidized spots.

"We thought up until Thursday that we were going to save the daycare so we didn't have advanced notice... we were working extremely hard. It really came down to there were a couple options on the table and we were really heartbroken neither worked out," he said.

"Our fear was that if we let parents know that we were experiencing financial difficulties and then one of those options had come through for us, we would've maybe lost some students and we couldn't afford to lose any students,” he said.

Fenwick also said they had to tell teachers about the bankruptcy before parents.

Andrea Hannen, who speaks for the Association of Day Care Operators of Ontario, said full-day kindergarten has put pressure on many daycares.

"It requires more staff and more specialized equipment, so it's much more expensive to provide care for infants and toddlers than it is for older children," she said.

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