Ontario government extends free child care to grocery, pharmacy workers

 

The Ontario government announced that it is further expanding the list of essential workers eligible to receive free emergency child care during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The benefit will now extend to people who work in the food supply chain, retirement homes, grocery stores and pharmacies, and certain federal employees, including the military, according to the Ford Government.

The province added that 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 Doug 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 Wednesday (April 29), Ontario reported 347 new COVID-19 cases and 45 more deaths. That brings the province to a total of 15-thousand-728 cases--a 2.3 per cent increase over the previous day. That’s the lowest growth rate in weeks.

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 says it 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.

A list of emergency child care centres is available at Ontario.ca/coronavirus.

With files from The Canadian Press

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