TORONTO -- Ontario is committing $234.6 million to support enhanced cleaning protocols and public health measures at child-care centres across the province.

The announcement, which was made on Friday morning, comes a week after Ontario announced that child-care centres in the province would open at full capacity on September 1

Currently, child-care centres in Ontario are operating at a reduced capacity with children remaining in cohorts of 15 to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

In addition to safety measures, Education Minister Stephen Lecce said the money, which comes from the federal government’s $19 billion Safe Restart Agreement announced earlier this month, can also be used by centres looking to recoup the loss of operating at a reduced capacity.

“As well, it can be used in this period of time for any offsets if capacity was limited, as it has been over the summer, to make up those dollars and really help these operators get through the worst of it as capacity is low,” Lecce said at a news conference at Queen’s Park.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford was on hand for the announcement and reiterated that the “last thing” he wants parents to worry about is whether their children will be safe as they return to work.

“We know that as our municipal partners and child-care operators prepare for September, they’ll need some extra help to support the safe restart of our economy and the full reopening of our child-care centres in September,” he said. 

Lecce added that the funds from the "historic agreement" would be made available to licensed child-care centres and early years programs in "short order."