07/17/2014 06:13 EDT | Updated 09/16/2014 05:59 EDT

North York parents fear closure of not-for-profit daycare

Parents with children who attend a not-for-profit daycare in North York are worried that the facility will soon close because a private operator is offering the property’s landlord more money.

Neil MacCarthy, who sits on the board of directors for the North York Little Prints daycare at Yonge Street and York Mills, says the building’s landlord, Manulife, wants the not-for-profit operator to occupy more space, cover the cost of a $250,000 retrofit and pay an additional $130,000 per year in rent on top of the $170,000 Little Prints already pays.

"We just don’t think that those conditions are reasonable for a non-profit daycare to be viable in today’s market,” said MacCarthy.

MacCarthy, who has an 18-month-old and a five-year-old enrolled at the daycare, said the conditions arose after a private operator, Kids and Company, made a better offer.

He said he fears a private operator moving into the space when Little Prints’ lease runs out would make daycare more expensive for his family and for others who rely on the service.

"To have two children in the daycare is almost $3,000-a-month and that would be hundreds more if you were in a for-profit daycare situation," he said.

As part of its mandate, the daycare space provides a subsidized rate for 25 per cent of its clients, a service that, he says, a private company isn’t required to offer.

"Essentially, profit is coming ahead of people."

Manulife is not commenting on the issue. However, Ward 25 Councillor Jaye Robinson said she’s facilitating negotiations between the daycare and Manulife.

"I am not sure why this for-profit company is targeting spaces where there’s a not-for-profit in place already,” said Robinson. That seems a bit unsavoury."