Dozens of parents are now scrambling to find childcare after the centre where their children currently attend announced it would be closing in just a few days.
Chilliwack Child Growth Society – a non-profit Montessori centre which offers care to children aged three months to 12 years – sent a letter out to families on Thursday (March 25) stating the entire centre would be closed as of Monday (March 29) until further notice.
“The staff would like to offer their deepest apologies. Unfortunately, working conditions have not been as they should be in accordance to B.C. government’s Employment Standards Act and employees need to take a stand for their rights,” the letter reads, in part.
It came as a shock to parents.
“None of the parents have had any notice that this was happening,” said one father, who asked to remain anonymous. “Wait lists for care are often a year long in most cases so many workers and families are essentially screwed with the fallout of this.”
More than half a dozen parents posted in the ‘Chilliwack Daycare Community’ Facebook group looking for urgent childcare as a result of the sudden closure of Child Growth Society.
Shortage of childcare in Chilliwack and other cities has been an issue for years. Earlier this month, it was announced that 380 childcare spaces would be opening in the Fraser Valley, including 138 in Chilliwack, thanks to provincial funding.
The March 25 letter that parents received was sent out by the teachers at the centre, but a different letter from CEO Amber Bardwell was posted on the Chilliwack Child Growth Society’s Facebook page on March 26.
In it, she states the reason for the closure is due to personal family issues.
“The decision to close the centre was not taken into lightly. There is no way at this point we can continue to run in an effective way; adhering to all of our licensing regulations staffing ratios and good strong comfortable working environment,” Bardwell wrote.
“I can understand how stressful this very sudden move is now for you and your families. My disappointment and heartache in this situation is overwhelming. I spent years building up the nonprofit society for children of all needs because it’s a true passion and I’m very proud of what built. I spent a lot of months recently fighting to keep it for all of the families in our community.”
Bardwell went on to state she will be considering all options and will be posting an update toward the middle of April about “any possible reopening or unfortunate full closure.”