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Ontario to help more essential workers during the COVID-19 outbreak

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TORONTO, ON. April 29, 2020 ― Today, the Ford government greatly expanded the list of essential workers eligible to receive free emergency child care during the COVID-19 outbreak. The expanded list includes truck drivers, grocery store and pharmacy workers, retirement home employees, food processing workers, and many more.

The announcement was made today by Premier Doug Ford, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

Canadian Armed Forces and Department of National Defence staff working in Ontario have been added to the list of essential workers eligible for ree emergency child care during the COVID-19 outbreak.
photo from Canadian Armed Forces facebook page.

Others who will benefit also include certain federal employees, including the military, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) emergency personnel as well as Provincial officers and onsite staff in Ontario courts. Interpreters and intervenors who support people who are deaf, deafened, hard of hearing and deafblindal workers as well as auxiliary workers in health care settings, including cooks and cleaning staff in hospitals and long-term care homes.

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.

“While our frontline workers are looking after us, we need to make sure we’re looking after them and their families,” said Premier 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 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 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.

Ontario will continue to monitor local needs to ensure frontline staff can continue to work and will communicate more details as the situation evolves.

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

SOURCE Government of Ontario

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