TORONTO ― The Ontario government is further expanding the list of essential workers eligible to receive free emergency child care during the COVID-19 outbreak. Those who will benefit include people who work in the food supply chain, retirement homes, grocery stores and pharmacies, and certain federal employees, including the military. Since emergency child care was introduced last month, almost 100 child care centres have reopened along with 40 Licensed Home Child Care Agencies in communities across the province.
The announcement was made today by Premier Doug Ford, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.
"While our frontline workers are looking after us, we need to make sure we're looking after them and their families," said Premier Ford. "Providing emergency child care for our essential workers gives parents one less thing to worry about when they're on the job saving lives, protecting us, or keeping shelves stocked with food and necessities."
On March 22, 2020, the government announced an emergency order directing certain child care centres to reopen subject to physical distancing constraints as part of the province's support for health care and other frontline workers during the COVID-19 outbreak. The list of essential workers eligible to access emergency childcare has now been further expanded. To accommodate more children, 37 additional centres have been approved and will be reopening in the coming days.
"We are providing emergency child care to more frontline workers because in these unprecedented times, we will do whatever it takes to keep families safe and supported," said Minister Lecce. "They are making tremendous sacrifices every day, and we will be there for them every step of the way."
The additional frontline workers who can now access emergency childcare services include:
Workers in grocery stores and pharmacies
Truck drivers (driver's licence Class A and Class D)
Workers in the food supply chain, including food processing
Workers in retirement homes
Auxiliary workers in health care settings, including cooks and cleaning staff in hospitals and long-term care homes
Interpreters and intervenors who support people who are deaf, deafened, hard of hearing and deafblind
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) emergency personnel
Provincial officers and onsite staff in Ontario courts
Canadian Armed Forces and Department of National Defence staff working in Ontario
Additional workers supporting public safety and correctional services
The Ontario Ministry of Education is working with Consolidated Municipal Service Managers (CMSM) and District Social Services Administration Boards (DSSAB) in their role as service system managers for early years and child care, as well as First Nations, to implement emergency child care centres in communities across the province.
Ontario will continue to monitor local needs to ensure frontline staff can continue to work and will communicate more details as the situation evolves.
A list of emergency child care centres is available on Ontario.ca/coronavirus.
The list of essential workers eligible to access emergency childcare was previously expanded on April 17, 2020 to include those who assist vulnerable communities, emergency response and law enforcement sector staff, more health and safety workers, and certain federal employees.
Child care for members of the Canadian Armed Forces and employees of the Department of National Defence who are working in Ontario would be provided by a Military Family Resource Centre.
The government has established strict guidelines for each centre and the local Medical Officer of Health must be consulted and supportive of protocols and actions in place.
All sites are also required to have a protocol in place in the event that a child, parent or staff member at the site is exposed to COVID-19.
Visit Ontario's website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.