Waterloo Regional Council approves plan to close 5 daycares

The Region of Waterloo's administration building in Kitchener. Nick Westoll / File / Global News

On Wednesday night, Waterloo Regional Council voted in favour of a move to close five child care centres it operates throughout the region.

Edith Macintosh Children’s Centre, Christopher Children Centre, Cambridge Centre and Kinsmen Centre will close at the end of next summer while the Elmira Children Centre will close later.

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Twelve councilors voted in favour of the decision with Berry Vrbanovic, Tom Galloway, and Sandy Shantz opposing the move which will see 200 child care spots disappear.

The move was recommended in a review conducted by KPMG which showed that the centres provide 1.9 per cent of child care spaces in Waterloo Region for 10.2 per cent of the Children’s Services operating budget.

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The review says the closures will save the region $6.8 million annually. There is a plan to distribute the funds throughout the system in which there are currently 14,000 child care spots.

As part of a comprehensive service review, KPMG spoke to funding inequities across the system, indicating that for the amount of funding the region allocates to operate 200 of its own child care spaces, it could have supported another 350 to 791 licensed spaces operated by programs in the community.

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The region says there are currently 2,000 child care spots open in the area, although it did not say what that number was pre-pandemic.

Global News reached out to the region Thursday morning to see if all of the savings would be reallocated into child care and to see how many people will lose their jobs as a result of the closures but has not received a response at the time of publishing. If one is provided, the story will be updated.

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