BoC governor Tiff Macklem objected to daycare in his neighbourhood as not keeping with its ‘heritage nature’

Macklem, who was a private citizen at the time, wrote that dropping off and picking up children would ‘create serious traffic problems’

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The governor of the Bank of Canada, who recently gave a speech lauding the importance of child care to the economic recovery from COVID-19, campaigned against having a daycare across the street from a $2.5 million home he and his wife owned in Toronto.

Documents obtained by Blacklock’s Reporter, an Ottawa news outlet, show that Tiff Macklem, who became the governor of the Bank of Canada in June 2020, and his wife, Rosemary, both wrote to a Toronto committee, arguing against having the nursery in their Cabbagetown neighbourhood back in 2018.

The project proposal has gone through a lengthy review and appeals process, with the Toronto Local Appeal Body, a quasi-judicial body that makes decisions regarding local planning, allowing most of the proposed zoning variances to proceed in a January 2021 decision. That decision upholds a previous decision granting approval to the child-care centre.

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The governor and his wife sold their home in July 2020, property records show, shortly before an interim approval of the daycare was granted.

In his letter, Macklem said 80 children would be at the daycare, about 100 people total, including staff. “This site is simply not appropriate for an operation of this scale,” Macklem wrote. “The modifications proposed to the building and side are not keeping with the residential and heritage nature of the neighbourhood.”

Macklem, who was a private citizen at the time, also wrote that dropping off and picking up children would “create serious traffic problems,” and would “be not only disruptive but also poses a safety risk.” Plus, he adds, food deliveries and garbage disposal would require truck traffic “not in keeping with the residential zoning of the neighbourhood.”

But he did say there is a real need for daycare in Toronto. His issue, in this case, he said, was with the size of the proposed facility.

“Governor Macklem is a strong supporter of early childhood education, and of daycare facilities in urban neighbourhoods, including the one in which he lived in Toronto,” said a statement from the Bank of Canada.

In February 2021, in a speech for the Edmonton and Calgary Chambers of Commerce, Macklem spoke about the economic damage of the COVID-19 pandemic and what a recovery might entail, from technological change to the effects of e-commerce.

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But, Macklem also took a moment to discuss child care.

“For families with young children, the closures of schools and daycares has also had a profound ability on parents to work,” said Macklem. “The burden of child care tends to fall disproportionately on women.”

He said “it’s reasonable to expect that more working mothers will rejoin the labour force as schools and daycares reopen permanently.”

“It will be important to support this recovery and facilitate this return to work,” he said.

Later in the speech, he argued “increasing access to child care and reducing its cost will help more women return to the labour force and remain there.”

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BoC governor Tiff Macklem objected to daycare in his neighbourhood as not keeping with its 'heritage nature'