Second Daycare Operator Sues Ministry of Education; OPP Commences Investigation of Daycare Licensing Practices

TORONTO, June 10, 2014 /CNW/ - Following in the footsteps of a lawsuit filed in April 2014 by Gerry Jutsun, the owner of Tiny Town Daycare Inc., a second daycare operator is now suing the Ontario Ministry of Education for $1.7 million dollars by way of a Statement of Claim issued on June 10, 2014 (the "Claim") (Court File No. CV-14-506041), alleging actions of discrimination, abuse and violations of her charter rights.

Ambereen Shahid, the former owner of First Choice Daycare and Montessori in Brampton, Ontario, lost her daycare license in January 2014, after a gruelling seven-month inspection process with ministry licensing officials. Mrs. Shahid alleges in the Claim that the process was rife with improprieties and discrimination with respect to the licensing process, including allegations of unsanitary equipment and facilities, child abuse and racial remarks levelled at her by licensing officials.

Mrs. Shahid originally purchased First Choice Daycare and Montessori in 2012, and operated the facility for over a year with no issues. In June 2013, she was renewed with a provisional license expiring in the following month of July, and was informed by ministry licensing inspectors that she would need to complete major capital investments and upgrades.

After completing the requested capital upgrades, the daycare was still not granted a standardized license. Pursuant to this, Mrs. Shahid and her staff allege that they were subjected to numerous ministry inspections over the course of the next seven months, with ministry feedback indicating numerous deficiencies and negligible actions on the daycare's part. Additionally, an anonymous source alleged that members of the daycare abused children, a claim that was later dropped and never fully clarified.

In January 2014, Mrs. Shahid was advised that her license was forfeited and going to be revoked. She then moved to sell her daycare center, and engaged the services of a real estate agent who purportedly specialized in the purchase and sale of childcare centers. Through that agent, Mrs. Shahid entered into negotiations with a potential buyer in March 2014, but never consummated the purchase and sale of the daycare center.

However, the new potential buyer was still granted an operating license within five days of her agreeing to buy the daycare center despite never completing the purchase. Mrs. Shahid alleges that this action was highly prejudicial, inconsistent and improper behaviour on behalf of the ministry licensing inspectors.

In April 2014, Jutsun was made aware of the failure of the purchase of First Choice Daycare, and stepped in to remedy the situation by purchasing the business from Mrs. Shahid in order to protect the children therein. Jutsun recognized that a prior license had been granted to the potential buyer after a full site inspection, and assumed that the site itself was Ministry-licensed.

Pursuant to that action, Ministry representatives responded on April 29, 2014 that First Choice Daycare could only have a limit of 5 children within the center, and returned the following day, accompanied by Peel Regional Police officers, to enforce their directive.

Mrs. Shahid has subsequently engaged FSI Fraud Security Investigations to bring awareness to her situation, with many similar allegations outlined in the Claim as that of the previous lawsuit filed by Tiny Town Daycare against the Ministry.

Jutsun has also given corroborating materials and documentation regarding the claims outlined in his and Mrs. Shahid's legal proceedings to the Ontario Provincial Police, who are currently reviewing the material and have indicated they will look into the matter further.

Other daycare operators across the Greater Toronto Area have also alleged similar claims of discrimination and unfair licensing practices, and additional parties supporting Jutsun and Mrs. Shahid's allegations may enjoin in a multi-action claim, which may coalesce into a class action lawsuit.

SOURCE: JMG Publicist

For further information: or media enquiries, please contact: Mr. Alex Gregory, Vice President of Media Relations, JMG Publicist, C: (416) 988-5110, P: (905) 274-8999, alexgregory@jmgpublicist.com, www.jmgpublicist.com

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