Five child care centres could be at risk of closure pending regional review
KITCHENER -- Five child care centres in Waterloo Region could be shut down pending a review by the region.
A similar review was performed five years ago, when the region ultimately voted to keep them open.
However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, some are worried there might be a different outcome this time.
Parents and staff are concerned about about what might come next.
Sandra Camara's daughter loves going to daycare at Christopher Children's Centre in Cambridge.
"She asks every day if she's going to her big-girl school," she said.
The five child care centres are operated by the Region of Waterloo. The union representing its workers said it could mean closures.
"It would be horrifying," Camara said.
She added it would be bad timing amid the pandemic.
"I had to stay home," Camara said. "It's like, finally, you're back to work and you're back on her feet."
There are around 260 spots in the five centres, and CUPE Local 1883 said it's difficult to get in.
"Approximately a year away for an infant spot and about eight months for a toddler spot," Noelle Fletcher with the union said.
Ashley Silva said she put her name on a wait list when she was 10 weeks pregnant.
"It's extremely anxiety ridden having to think about looking for another daycare," she said.
She said there aren't many details, but the region invited parents to a meeting on Thursday.
"I hope that they have more transparency with families," she said.
Union officials are also looking for answers.
"Fear of the unknown, uncertainty about what they're going to do, uncertain about even having a job," Fletcher said.
The union represents around 60 staff members.
"We will do our best to fight any closures and to appear to the councillors," Fletcher said.
A review from consulting firm KPMG went to council in 2015. That report said closures would save the region around $2.5 million, which could go towards more spaces in private sector daycares.
Regional council voted to keep the spaces open.
"We're not sure what's going to happen this time," Fletcher said.
The details of the review haven't been made public, but will be discussed at a virtual meeting for patients on Thursday night.
More information is expected to be released on Friday.