Concordia University extends downtown daycare's lease after public outcry

The downtown daycare will get help from Concordia University and Quebec's Ministry of Family as it searches for a new site.  (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press - image credit)
The downtown daycare will get help from Concordia University and Quebec's Ministry of Family as it searches for a new site. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Concordia University is extending the lease of a public daycare on its downtown campus, allowing more than two years for a new location to be found.

The Centre de la petite enfance (CPE) Concordia is in the Grey Nuns building. The school's decision to not renew the lease after July 2023 made headlines last week after parents —  at a time when daycare spots are scarce — cried foul.

Concordia said the space is needed for academic activities and that it had been discussing the situation with the daycare's director for a year and suggesting options such as temporarily closing the daycare and moving it elsewhere.

On Wednesday, however, the school's administration backpedalled.

The daycare and the university sent out a joint letter that starts by thanking the community for sharing their thoughts, concerns and suggestions on the matter.

"It plays an important role for the Concordia community and we share everyone's collective desire to find a mutually satisfactory resolution," the letter said.

The letter says the lease has been extended to Aug. 31, 2025, and that the province's Family Ministry will help find a new location. Concordia will also help the process, the letter said, by meeting with the CPE's administration, relocation committee members and project professionals as required.

The CPE has also engaged the services of a real estate management firm to provide the specialized assistance and expertise to find a new location, the letter says.

"The university has committed to maintaining its current level of funding and other support for the CPE once it is relocated," the letter says.

"We'd like to reiterate that we are both fully committed to working together so that Concordia faculty, staff and students of the Sir George Williams campus have access to daycare services."

Michael Di Grappa, vice-president, services and sustainability, and Maria Ottoni, CPE Concordia's director, signed the letter.