Pickles and Poppets daycare closure leaves parents scrambling

Parents say they're frustrated with the lack of explanation of the sudden closure of a west Ottawa daycare service this week.

Pickles and Poppets ceased its Kanata and Barrhaven operations Wednesday after announcing the change to parents late Friday. 

Taylor Lewis, whose 18-month-old Aubrey attended the daycare, said the email raised many questions.

"We instantly go into scramble mode. Obviously priority number one is finding somewhere safe that she can attend right away because we can't take time off work," Lewis said.

He said he hasn't heard anything from the daycare operators about what's next or what will happen to deposits, which were $750 for his family.

"Right now, it's up in the air whether we're going to get that back. We haven't heard anything."

Matthew Kupfer/CBC

Pickles and Poppets did not provide CBC News with a comment Tuesday.

In an email to parents dated Sept. 6, the owners of Pickles and Poppets said they had been working to make arrangements in preparation for a possible closure.

Though they mentioned the poor health of one owner, they did not specify a reason for the closure.

"Since last November we've been looking for a solution where 'our' children would continue to receive excellent care, and you would receive the same quality of service that you have been used to," said the email.

Offer from another chain

Lewis was among the parents attending an information session held at the Kanata location of Toronto-based daycare chain Kids and Company, which is offering Pickles and Poppets parents spaces at the lower rate they paid at the previous provider.

Lewis said he will be taking up that option. 

The company, which has five Ottawa locations, said it's honouring fees paid for September and will hire some staff from Pickles and Poppets.

Cassandra Thompson's three-year-old son Nolan attended Pickles and Poppets.

She said she doesn't want to go with the larger chain and she's concerned for staff caught in the transition.

"The teachers are now dealing with our emotions, our questions and they don't have the answers. They're dealing with their own personal feelings their relationships with the kids, their next steps for employment," she said at the final drop off for the daycare.

Olivier Plante/CBC

Thompson said she will be using the last two months of her maternity leave to find a new provider because she doesn't want to go with a Toronto-based company and she's unhappy with the lack of information.

While Kids and Company representatives at information session declined to speak to CBC News, a representative based in Toronto said the company has not bought out Pickles and Poppets.