MUSKOKA — More help is on the way for health-care and front-line workers with no alternatives for child care during COVID-19.
The province has approved a bid by the District of Muskoka to open an emergency child care centre for up to 20 spaces.
While it says the safest option continues to be for children to remain at home if at all possible.
Licensed child care centres were ordered closed March 17, 2020 as part of a provincial state of emergency.
In talks with the Ministry of Education, a private licensed child care operator offered to provided emergency child care services and the district made the application, which was approved last week.
Emergency child care services are reserved exclusively for children of essential service workers who have no other alternatives.
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 application for emergency child care is now on the district website at the following link: www.muskoka.on.ca/emergencychildcare.
Applications will be reviewed on a first come first served basis.
Are More Child Care Spaces Expected?
To ensure proper infection control and safety requirements related to COVID-19, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has advised the total spaces available at the centre will be dependent on the age of the children in each of the rooms.
There are currently 1,000 emergency child care spaces across Ontario being funded by the province.
Muskoka has been approved for 20 of those spaces.
For more information please visit: www.muskoka.on.ca/emergencychildcare