VANCOUVER – The Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC warned today that a foreign-based corporation is trying to buy up community-based British Columbia child care providers right across the province.
And the Coalition is asking if a BC government decision to for the first time provide capital funds to for-profit child care businesses is connected to the foreign takeover.
Coalition representative Rita Chudnovsky says information released today by the Coalition shows that 123-Global is sending offers to buy private operators across the province, with a timeline of as short as three weeks to complete the deal.
123-Global is an investment firm that is described as a “growth engine” for and partner of A.B.C. Learning Centres, an Australian-based multinational child care corporation. 123-Global is also a partner of corporate child care operations in the United States, Britain, Japan and China, she said.
The buyout move could impact over 24,000 children in BC who are attending for-profit child care facilities – about half the child care spaces in the whole province, Chudnovsky said.
“We are deeply concerned that community-based child care providers throughout BC are being bought out by a foreign multinational corporation,” Chudnovsky said. “What we need in BC are more publicly-funded non-profit quality child care centres, not some gigantic child care warehouse operation.”
Chudnovsky says the buyout offers started in mid-September, just two weeks before the BC government announced a $12.5 million capital fund to create new child care spaces that will be available to for-profit operations.
“We want to know if there is a connection between an unprecedented buyout offer to all BC private child care operators and the government offering to subsidize for-profit child care operators,” Chudnovsky said. “We do not believe for-profit companies should have their revenue subsidized by taxpayers and we certainly do not want highly profitable multinational corporations getting government handouts while they takeover community-based childcare.”
Lower Mainland child care operator Susan Harney said she received a buyout offer this week from Adroit Investments LLC, a firm which lists 123-Global on all its correspondence.
“The buyout of my child care centre could be completed in as little as three weeks I was told,” Harney said. “Adroit Investments sent me purchase information forms and a non-disclosure agreement by email immediately after I was in contact with them – it was rather shocking.”
Harney, a Coalition member, said she is worried that small, independent community-based child care centres could be taken over by a foreign company that has profits as its primary concern.
“I operate a child care centre because I love kids and enjoy taking care of them,” Harney said. “I am concerned that a company based in Australia that reports record profits every year wants to become the dominant child care provider in BC and one that will have no connection to our community and no local accountability.”