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A child reads at a Calgary daycare centre operated by Edleun Group Inc., which plans to acquire seven Montessori daycares in Ontario. (Chris Bolin for The Globe and Mail)
A child reads at a Calgary daycare centre operated by Edleun Group Inc., which plans to acquire seven Montessori daycares in Ontario. (Chris Bolin for The Globe and Mail)

Daycare firm Edleun to make quick Ontario expansion Add to ...

A Calgary-based for-profit daycare company will buy three more Ontario centres, just a week after announcing its first purchases in the province.

Edleun Group said it would spend $4-million to buy three as-yet unidentified daycare centres in Mississauga, which have a total of 356 licenced spaces.

It said last week it would buy three Montessori centres in Toronto, but hasn’t identified those either. It bought three in Windsor the same day, spending $5.5-million for The Children’s House Montessori and its 458 spaces.

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The company has been controversial, as childcare advocates suggest that any for-profit model will ultimately lead to a reduced quality of care. They believe that all of the money generated by daycare should be put back into daycare.

However, owners are finding themselves increasingly squeezed as costs rise. In Ontario, all-day kindergarten has reduced demand and cash-strapped cities have considered scrapping subsidies. That makes selling an attractive option, Edleun said. It’s had no trouble finding sellers.

“Following the inception of the company just over a year and a half ago, we have quadrupled in size through selective acquisition and development of centres that perform well with the support of the families and staff in the communities we serve,” said Dale Kearns, the company’s chief financial officer.

The company also said Monday it wouldn’t follow through on a plan to buy a 70-spot centre in Airdrie, Alberta for $900,000 as previously announced.

The company now has 4,641 licensed spaces in 44 centres, including centres.

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