Ontario to offer emergency child care to more frontline staff amid COVID-19 outbreak
At an April 17 press conference, Ontario Premier Doug Ford discussed additional measures to help cope with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, with an announcement that the Ontario government is expanding the list of essential workers eligible to receive emergency child care amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
The announcement was made today by Premier Doug Ford and Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education and will help additional frontline staff during these unprecedented times.
An emergency order was issued and will offer support to those providing critical services including those who assist vulnerable communities, emergency response and law enforcement sector staff, more health and safety workers and certain federal employees.
“Our frontline workers have made so many sacrifices and put the needs of the community ahead of themselves,” said Premier Ford.
“These heroes work day-in and day-out to ensure everyone else can stay home and stay safe and healthy. The least we can do is ensure the safety of their children during these unprecedented times.”
Last month, on March 20, 2020, the government issued an emergency order which directed certain child care centres to reopen with fewer children in order to allow physical distancing; a decision made to support health-care and other frontline workers who are responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Our frontline workers are making a real difference in our lives and deserve our support,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education.
“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, cared for, and healthy.”
The additional frontline workers who can now access emergency childcare services include staff working in developmental services, victim services, violence against women services, anti-human trafficking services and child welfare services (children’s aid societies) and in children’s residential settings.
Additionally, staff identified by the Ministry of the Solicitor General, including First Nations constables, Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management fire investigators, Select critical staff in community corrections, such as probation and parole officers, Contractors in institutional corrections services, Frontline staff at the Provincial Forensic Pathology Unit, Critical staff at the Centre of Forensic Sciences and Critical staff operating the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre.
Staff working in shelters, Power workers, Pharmaceutical and medical supplies and device manufacturing workers, Non-municipal water and waste-water employees and Federally employed staff including Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers and Canada Post employees will now also have access to these emergency childcare 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.
In terms of physical distancing, Ford told reporters that it is crucial to continue doing so.
“I know it’s tough and I know it’s hard to do, but we’ve come such a long way and saw some positive results,” said Ford.
“It’s encouraging, but in no means are we out of the woods right now.”
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