Coalition of Child Care Advocates calls on BC government to block public funding to foreign-based corporations trying to buy up community-based British Columbia child care providers; BC child care is NOT FOR SALE


VANCOUVER – The BC government should act quickly to block any provincial funding that might subsidize a foreign-based corporation attempting to buy up community-based child care providers across BC, says the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC.

The call comes after the Coalition released information Friday showing that a foreign-based multinational corporation is sending letters offering to purchase private child care centres across BC. Since then the Toronto Star newspaper has reported that child care centre owners in Ontario and Alberta are also being approached to sell their operations.

“BC child care is not for sale and taxpayers should not be subsidizing the buy out of community-based child care centres or the profits of a foreign-based multinational corporation,” says Coalition spokesperson Rita Chudnovsky. “Public money should be used to expand non-profit quality child care centres, not see BC child care turned into a foreign-owned, big-box warehouse business.”

Chudnovsky said the provincial government needs to move quickly to ensure that BC community-based child care centres are not swallowed up by ABC Learning Centres of Australia, whose corporate partner 123-Global is making the purchase offers.

Coalition chair Susan Harney, who owns a child care centre, said government has no time to waste if it wants to preserve community-based child care. She contacted 123-Global last week and learned that a buyout of her centre could be completed in as little as three weeks.

“The provincial government needs to be clear right now that it will not let public money facilitate the takeover of BC-owned child care centres or subsidize profits resulting from the sale of those centres to a foreign-based corporation,” Harney said. “This is happening right now and the government has to take action or we will lose any local accountability for child care in this province.”

The buyout move could impact over 24,000 children in BC who attend privately-owned child care centres – about half the centre-based child care spaces in the whole province, Harney said.

The Coalition is also deeply concerned about the track record of ABC Learning Centres and 123-Global, which describes itself as a “growth engine” for ABC and a partner to corporate child care operations in the United States, Britain, Japan and China, says Coalition board member Mab Oloman.

“ABC Learning Centres in Australia has garnered a lot of media coverage over child care quality issues but one thing is clear – they make enormous profits,” Oloman said. “BC taxpayers and parents need to tell the provincial government we don’t want to subsidize the profits of any multinational child care corporation.”