Reopened day care centre a small step

Local union says it’s withholding praise until Queen’s releases more information about the future of its childcare

An Clachan, which currently provides housing, will soon see a day care centre opened.
An Clachan, which currently provides housing, will soon see a day care centre opened.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) 901 is holding off on commending the University’s recent announcement that it’ll open a second Queen’s Day Care Centre (QDC) location, after a former site closed last year.

PSAC 901 President Craig Berggold said the local chapter is “withholding [their] applause” until more information is released because while the number of new spots hasn’t been publicly stated, the number of QDC sites will simply be returned to their pre-closure level.

“[Queen’s] should not be applauded simply for opening something that reestablishes the low standard that previously existed,” Berggold said.

The former daycare location, which was located on 169 Union St. and served as a daycare for preschoolers, was closed last May following a fire and safety inspection.

The University announced last month that after a final agreement with QDC, a new location will be opened in September at 47 Van Order Dr. — a Queen’s-owned space that currently provides housing to students, faculty and staff.

Berggold said childcare impacts education, since “promoting the welfare of families” leads to greater participation in education. He added that PSAC 901 would like to see Queen’s act as a leader in childcare — locally, provincially and nationally.

“Queen’s spends millions of dollars on sports stadiums, capital redevelopment, building assets,” Berggold said.

“The fact that the fire marshal had to close [169 Union St.] down for irrepairs in the building means somebody was responsible for allowing it to get to that point. [It] wasn’t funded properly.”

In December, the PSAC wrote a letter to Provost Alan Harrison, calling on the University to continue providing “safe and cost-efficient childcare services”, to create a policy for subsidizing childcare for those impacted by the 169 Union St. closure and to contact the local “with further options that the Administration has considered for providing childcare services”.

“We would like to be included in these discussions as closure of 169 Union Street has negatively impacted some of our members and their children,” the letter read.

“We have not been invited to the table, yet,” Berggold told The Journal, adding that this is of concern to the local.

In a Dec. 18 reply to the local, the Provost said the University was committed to finding a second location for the daycare, adding that a “suitable short-term location for fall 2014” had not yet been identified — although efforts to find another space were in progress and meetings were being regularly held with QDC.

“The Queen’s community will be apprised of any future developments as information becomes available,” the reply read.

This week, owing to these concerns, PSAC 901 announced a childcare bursary for members to help offset expenses incurred in the 2014-15 fiscal year. The bursary will offer a total of $20,000 to the local’s members — a sum Berggold said equals 20 per cent of its membership dues.

Ayman Sabbah, PSAC 901’s childcare campaign coordinator, said the local is looking for “social justice” for individuals with dependents that want to enroll in university.

“We hope that this initiative — the childcare bursary — will create a ripple effect that will make everyone thinking and spot the light on this main issue,” he said, “because we believe that childcare should — like studying at Queen’s or at any university — should not be burdened or stopped by having dependents, or be affected by having dependents.”

Sabbah said both financial and spatial constraints exist, and students pay the same amount to enroll their child in QDC as other Queen’s employees who may earn much more.

“Queen’s is responsible to resolve this issue by providing more spots around campus and subsidizing part of the financial fees, or reducing it for students, for example,” Sabbah said. “This will be the perfect solution.”

QDC President Jean-Baptiste Litrico said the organization was unable to comment because a final agreement had not yet been reached with the University.


All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.