Big-box child care is setting up shop in Canada

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Laurie Monsebraaten, Social Justice Reporter
Toronto Star

Big-box child care is setting up shop in Canada and critics worry it will undermine quality, scuttle chances for a national daycare program and thwart provincial plans for all-day kindergarten.

The new company, Edleun Inc., has “identified a large and growing supply and demand imbalance” and is looking to acquire and develop “high quality” child care and early education centres across Canada, according to documents filed with the TSX.

Edleun already owns a chain of Alberta daycares with links to the failed Australian-based ABC Learning Centres. It has merged with a Montreal capital company and plans to begin trading on the TSX Venture Exchange…..

About 80 per cent of Canadian child care is not-for-profit, with a small number of public centres mostly operated by municipalities. The remaining commercial centres are either owner-operated daycares or small private chains run as community businesses.

A large international body of research has found that for-profit daycare provides lower quality care for young children than non-profit or public programs. Non-profit and public daycare are also more accessible and affordable for parents and more accountable to taxpayers, research shows.

“Once child care becomes a big business traded on the stock exchange, there isn’t even a pretense that it’s being operated for the love of children and families,” [Martha] Friendly said. “The stock exchange isn’t about public services; it’s about profit, pure and simple.”

Edleun Inc
June 4, 2010

According to a media release, Edleun’s goal is to “become the leading educational and child care provider in Canada. The Company’s objectives include the acquisition and improvement of existing child care centres and development of new child care centres across Canada.”