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Toronto opens child care centres today for frontline workers


TORONTO, ON., March 31, 2020 – Today, the City of Toronto opened four emergency licensed child centres for the children of eligible, essential and critical service workers. Announced last week, Toronto is the first municipality to open emergency child care centres that will operate, as the need demands, on a 24 hours per day, seven days per week basis to support critical, frontline workers. 

As of this morning, approximately 487 families, representing more than 705 children, have applied. Roughly 64 per cent of the applications have come from frontline health care workers and approximately 36 per cent from eligible, essential City employees. More than one hundred children have been placed so far and will begin attending an emergency child care centre today.

“We are the first city in Ontario to develop a plan for 24/7 child care for frontline workers who need it,” said Mayor John Tory. “We have worked with the Province of Ontario in full cooperation to quickly open the application process and have the sites up and running. This is part of our ongoing work to do everything we can at the City of Toronto to help people get through this pandemic.” 

The Province of Ontario has provided direction around reduced group sizes. Each emergency child care centre can provide care for 30 children at a time. 

The greatest demand for emergency child care has been in the downtown core to meet the needs of hospital staff. The City is monitoring demand and will work with the Province to obtain approval to open more locations if needed.

The City first announced that it would work with the Province to open four emergency child care centres on March 22, and then received final sign off to open the centres on March 28. The City launched an online application that same day, which is being used to assess demand and start placing children in needed emergency child care. 

The City has committed child care spaces for eligible families on a first come, first served basis. If the level of demand exceeds the City’s ability to provide care, the City will prioritize child care space for front-line health care workers (including Toronto Public Health and Long-Term Care) and first responders. Once eligible workers complete and submit the online application, they are contacted by Toronto Children’s Services staff if space is available. 

For details on eligibility and application, visit toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-social-support/covid-19-child-care-for-essential-workers

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