Childcare centre addresses ‘temporary suspension of services’

A popular downtown childcare centre has suspended operation at its Chapman Street location, according to a press release from Something Special Children’s Centre.

The Centre’s Board of Directors indicate this suspension is temporary, and the result of having operated with solely non-unionized staff since Monday, Nov. 4, 2019. The CUPE workers at the facility were locked out on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019 after negotiations between the union and the employer failed to reach an agreement.

“Aggressive tactics by CUPE representatives, including barring the entry of non-unionized staff last Friday and hostile interactions with neighbours, ultimately led to the decision,” the press release from the Board of Directors reads.

Something Special Children’s Centre said that alternate care has been arranged at licensed childcare facilities within Kingston for those families who need it, and that “the board is hopeful that the families will be able to return in the near future.”

“It was a very difficult decision to close the centre,” said Kate Lussier-Purdy, President of the Board at Something Special Children’s Centre. “But at the end of the day, the noise and aggressive behaviour of the picketers presented a disruptive and unsafe environment for our families and their children. The Board of Directors, composed of parent volunteers, remains committed to reaching a resolution.”

The Centre, which has been providing childcare in downtown Kingston since 2000, expressed gratitude for the patience and cooperation of its parents as the Board continues to work with CUPE to reach a resolution, noting the “exceptional care that non-unionized staff have been able to provide the children under such challenging conditions.”

To read about CUPE’s reaction to the suspension of services, click here.

For more coverage of the Board of Directors’ position on the matter, click here.

For coverage of the workers’ position on the lockout and subsequent rally, click here.

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