Toronto opening four emergency childcare centres for kids of essential workers
A daycare in Toronto is seen in this file image. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)
TORONTO -- The City of Toronto is opening four childcare centres to ensure that frontline workers can continue to work during the COVID-19 crisis.
In a news release Saturday, the city said they have received authorization from the province to open the centres in existing city-run licensed childcare facilities that will be staffed by City of Toronto childcare workers.
“To support members of this essential and critical workforce, licensed childcare service will be available at no cost to families, funded by the Province of Ontario, for children under age 12,” the city said in the release.
The province confirmed on Sunday that it would allow a select number of childcare centres to help essential workers access safe, local emergency childcare.
The workers eligible for emergency childcare include police officers, firefighters or individuals providing fire protection services, regulated health care professionals, unregulated health care providers working in health care, paramedics, individuals who perform work that is essential to the delivery of core services in a municipality (such as TTC, water and solid waste).
“Providing 24-7 licensed childcare, even under these circumstances, is a first for the City,” Mayor John Tory said in a statement.
“Staff have been working with our partners at the Province of Ontario for more than a week to get the right approvals in place to open emergency licensed childcare spaces as quickly as possible for our essential and critical workers.”
The city said it would be on a first-come, first-served basis due to limited space.
“If the level of demand exceeds the ability to provide care, the City will prioritize childcare space for frontline health care workers and first responders,” the city said.
Additional measures, which include the daily screening of children and staff, increasing disinfection, reducing group sizes, and limiting the number of people in centres, would be taken to maintain a safe environment at the centres.
The four childcare spaces are Malvern Early Learning and Child Care, Jesse Ketchum Early Learning and Child Care, Thomas Berry Early Learning and Child Care, and Falstaff Early Learning and Child Care.
The services will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
As of Saturday, there are more than 1,100 cases of COVID-19 in Ontario.