Mayor John Tory announced today that the City of Toronto has received authorization from the Province of Ontario to open two additional licensed child care centres to provide care for the children of essential and critical service workers. Like the first four centres that opened on March 31, the new centres will be located in existing City-run licensed child care facilities and staffed by City of Toronto child care workers.
The two new child care centres will be downtown where the City has seen the most demand. The first centre, located at 34 Bathurst St., opens today and the second centre, located at 1125 Danforth Ave., will open later this week.
Emergency child care services are reserved exclusively for children of essential and critical service workers identified in the Province of Ontario’s “List of Workers Eligible for Emergency Child Care,” who have no other alternatives. The safest option for families is to have children remain at home, if possible.
A complete list of workers eligible for emergency child care is available at https://www.ontario.ca/page/child-care-health-care-and-frontline-staff.
To date, Toronto is the only municipality in Ontario to offer this service since provincial approval was granted. Funded by the Province of Ontario, this licensed child care service is available at no cost to qualifying families, for children under age 12. Services operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week – a first for the City.
Child care spaces are available on a first come, first served basis. Once eligible workers complete and submit the online application, they will be contacted by Toronto Children’s Services staff if space is available.
For details on eligibility and application, visit http://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-social-support/covid-19-child-care-for-essential-workers.
Since launching the online application form on March 26, the City has received more than 800 applications and has placed nearly 200 children in care. Seventy-one per cent of the applications were from front-line heath care workers (including Toronto Public Health and Long-Term Care) and first responders.
The City will continue to monitor demand for the service and prioritize child care space for front-line health care workers and first responders. If required, the City will work closely with provincial and community partners to expand the service.
Because physical distancing is difficult when caring for young children, additional measures are being taken in consultation with Toronto Public Health and Occupational Health and Safety to maintain a healthy and safe environment. Precautions include daily screening of children and staff, increased disinfection, reduced group sizes and limiting the number of people in the centre to 50, as per Provincial order.
“I commend our staff for working so quickly with our partners at the Province of Ontario to scale up the emergency child care service for essential and critical service workers’ families. The response for this service has been tremendous and I’m pleased that we can expand it to help more of the heroes we rely on to fight COVID-19.”
– Toronto Mayor John Tory
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