Public Schools No Home for Big Corporate Childcare

Media Advisory

… Edmonton Public Schools’ Board of Trustees will decide tonight at their public board meeting if they are going to allow Canada’s largest childcare corporation to lease space within the public school system.

The CEO of EDLEUN Corporation, Texas businessman Leslie Wulf, will be making a presentation tonight….

Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta will also make a short presentation following Mr Wulf. Moore-Kilgannon had presented to the school board on April 13th raising a number of public interest questions that are important for the board to consider before an agreement with this corporation to lease 4 schools should proceed. To see these questions, go to

A number of others will also be raising their concerns at the beginning of the school board meeting at 6:00 PM, including a current childcare operator who was very concerned about losing her childcare centre to EDLEUN when it was revealed that EPSB was in negotiations for her centre’s space.

Edmonton schools reject for-profit daycare
CBC News
May 11, 2011

At a board meeting Tuesday night, a company called Edleun made a pitch to rent space in four city schools to run daycares and early education programs….

Edleun, the largest private, for-profit child care company in Canada, is in the process of buying up daycares across country.

Wulf has been involved in several child care chains in Canada, United States and Australia including 123 Busy Beavers, the Canadian arm of the international conglomerate ABC/123….

“I invested $35 million in child care in Alberta last year,” he said. “Today I own 22 child care centres most of them in Alberta.

“When I bought them from individuals I invested $3.8 million in upgrading the facilities.”

Profits are re-invested, Wulf told the board.

Most trustees however were unconvinced.

Profits can get in the way of providing children proper care and instruction, said trustee Sarah Hoffman.

“I think that’s the job, to make sure that corporation is profitable,” she said. “It’s not the job for a corporation to provide services that don’t make a profit.”….


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Be wary of large-scale day cares, warns U of C sociologist
By Emily Kreiberg, Calgary Herald
May 9, 2011

Well-known author and University of Calgary sociologist Tom Langford is warning Alberta parents to watch out for large, corporate child care facilities coming to the province.

In 2007, the Alberta government removed the 80-child cap on the maximum number of children that could be accommodated in a child care facility.

With the size deregulation, Langford said corporate day care centres that look after 200 or more children are in Alberta’s immediate future.

“At this size, corporate day cares will be larger than some of our local elementary schools,” says Langford, an assistant professor at the U of C who wrote a book called, Alberta’s Day Care Controversy. “Attending them will be a very different experience than our current stock of smaller non-profit and commercial day cares.”

Langford argues that since the capital for corporate day cares is provided by investors expecting sizable returns on investment, generating profits rather than putting children first becomes the bottom line.

“The commercial chains do well when the market is expanding,” he said. “They fill up new centres, make a profit and everything’s good.

“But when we’re in a recession, the vacancy rate goes up, they run into trouble, and the commercial chains are forced to not reinvest in child care. They no longer invest in new curriculum or programs for the kids, quality goes down, and their centres aren’t as attractive to potential investors anymore.”…

In recent weeks, Edleun has purchased eight more centres in B.C. and is looking at further expansion here and across Canada….

Langford, however, points to Australia’s failed ABC Learning Centres child care chain as an example of large-scale corporate child care operations gone awry.

By the time ABC Learning collapsed beneath $1.6 billion of debt in November 2008, it had grown from a single centre in Brisbane to include 1,200 Australian child care centres, as well as 1,000 centres in the United States, 116 in New Zealand and 112 in Britain.

“When ABC went belly up, hundreds of centres closed and families and children were thrown out on the street,” Langford says.

“My argument is this, we have had day care chains such as KinderCare and Educentre go bankrupt in Alberta before. With young children, stable learning and care environments are important. It’s risking too much to have large corporate child care systems take over. Their track record in Alberta and around the world is too much of a risk.”…..

“Parents should ask themselves, do they want a child care system where child care facilities could go bankrupt, or should we build a child care system where that type of a calamity won’t happen?”….