TORONTO – The Ontario government says it will provide childcare for emergency and frontline staff, in a move designed to help keep key personnel on the job through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government made the announcement Sunday through a release that included few details, but promised workers including doctors, nurses, paramedics, firefighters, police, and correctional officers “will be able to access safe, local emergency child care.”
The move requires the province to exempt certain childcare centres from its earlier order closing all licensed centres in an effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. Health Minister Christine Elliott said the exceptions are key to ensure Ontario’s health system and other key services continue to function.
"We need to help our nurses, doctors and frontline care workers to be able to focus on protecting the health and well-being of all Ontarians," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "By allowing select child care centres to open their doors during these challenging times, our province's courageous frontline workers can rest assured knowing that their families are also being looked after."
The province has not released details on how many centres will open and where, or how to access the spots, but says details will be forthcoming on its COVID-19 webpage at ontario.ca/coronavirus.
Minister of Education Stephen Lecce said some additional health and safety measures will be put in place at the centres that reopen.
“We need to protect the safety of the staff and children at these centres,” he said in the release. “For that reason, we are putting strict measures in place, such as restricting the types of centres that can re-open and keeping the number of children in any one centre low."