A civic strike in Toronto is causing a crisis in childcare for some parents as city-run daycares and summer camps shut down as part of the job action.

Some parents were forced to take their children to work on Monday as more than 50 daycares closed their doors because of the municipal strike that began shortly after midnight. About 24,000 city workers are off the job.

Others had to take the day off.

"I had to call my boss and let her know," said Aster Tsegaye, a mother of four who hopes to take the week off. Fortunately, her boss seemed sympathetic. "I know!,' she said. She was waiting for the day."

As it turns out, Tsegaye's boss also relies on daycare.

About 2,800 children are affected by the closure of 57 daycares.

There's also a lot of confusion.

"There's municipally-run daycare centres that are not operating, there are purchase-of-service daycares are. So a lot of calls we're getting are that people don't know automatically what kind of daycare their children go to," deputy city manager Sue Corke said a a briefing on Monday.

Parents walking the picket line say they're in the same boat as many brought their small children along to protest.

"He has to stay with me because there is no other choice, just like other parents," protester Nella Lucchetto said of her son. "I'm in the same boat."

The city is also not accepting new applications for child care fee subsidies or transfer requests to other child care centres. A note on the city's website says that fee subsidy appointments will be rescheduled.

Toronto Mayor David Miller said he's particularly worried about the effect the strike will have on parents who depend on daycare and camp to supervise their children during the day while they work.

"I know this will inconvenience Torontonians in many different ways and I'm particularly concerned about families with children in city-run daycares," Miller said at a news conference early Monday morning. "I'm asking residents and patients to be as patient as possible while a resolution to this strike is pursued."

The city's gay community also felt the affects of a municipal strike as Toronto officials cancelled an annual flag-raising event meant to mark the launch of Pride Week.

Officials were expected to hoist the rainbow flag at city hall Monday afternoon but the event was cancelled Monday morning.

Toronto's municipal workers went on strike at midnight, leaving the city without garbage pick-up, summer camp, swimming pools and daycare.

About 24,000 indoor and outdoor workers walked off the job as the two unions representing the employees announced that they were unable to reach a deal with the city.

The strike will also have an impact on places and events geared towards families, including:

  • libraries located inside community centres
  • the island ferry
  • recreation centres
  • city-run events in public squares and public parks

Most libraries, public transit and the Toronto zoo are all running as usual.

City officials have outlined their contingency plan on Toronto's official website Toronto.ca. People can also call 416-338-0338 (TTY 416-338-0889) for more information, or email accesstoronto@ctoronto.ca.

With a report from CTV Toronto's Reshmi Nair