The Ontario Government is protecting licensed child care in Ontario during the COVID-19 outbreak by ensuring parents retain access to local licensed child care, as well as EarlyON Child and Family Centres. The government unveiled a plan that, together with federal and municipal partnership, provides supports to licensed child care providers to ensure they remain sustainable and ready to open when parents return to work.
“We are taking action to protect local child care spaces for parents as they return to work,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “Our plan is focused on two objectives. The first was focused on saving parents money by prohibiting child care providers from charging families during the closure period. The second objective was focused on protecting child care spaces across our province, so families can re-enter the workforce with confidence that local centres will be accessible and safe.”
The plan is focused on protecting child care spaces for parents with a time-limited approach that includes:
- support for fixed operating costs for eligible child care and EarlyON Centres, while providers are prohibited from charging parent fees while the Emergency Order is in effect;
- direct and rapid funding delivery through municipal service managers for centres that currently receive funding;
- a straightforward application process for child care centres that do not currently receive provincial funding by allowing them to apply directly to the Ministry of Education;
- direction that all child care centres will be required to maximize all available support under Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, including staffing costs retroactively to March 15, 2020, in addition to federal-provincial rental subsidy supports;
- red tape reduction and cost savings by waiving all child care licensing applications, renewals and revision fees;
- automatic extension of child care licenses set to expire during the emergency period; and
- protecting existing base funding for licensed home child care agencies, and regular funding and wage enhancement grant funding for licensed home child care providers who have remained active during the emergency closure.
The government’s plan harnesses the full support of all levels of government and ensures the sector and the child care spaces families depend on remain available in urban and rural communities across Ontario.
- The province is supporting parents during the COVID-19 outbreak by temporarily preventing child care providers from collecting payments from parents. Child care centres, with the exception of those providing emergency child care to health care and other frontline workers, were ordered closed to help prevent the spread of the virus and keep the children and child care staff safe.
- Ontario is also helping parents pay for the extra costs associated with school and child care closures during the COVID-19 outbreak by providing a one-time payment of $200 per child up to 12 years of age, and $250 for those with special needs, including children enrolled in private schools.
- There are over 5,500 child care centres and 124 licensed home child care agencies across Ontario.
- School Boards will not charge rent for child care centres or EarlyON centres located in schools, until the end of the closure period.