COVID-19 Prevention & Response Information

Province Says Child Care Licensees Will Move To Full Capacity For September 1 (July 30)

The Province has announced that licensed child care centres will be permitted to return to full operating capacity as of September 1.

Province Adds Child Care Items to List of "Sectoral Guidelines" (May 11)

Finance Minister Rod Phillips has announced that additional "sectoral guidelines" have been issued regarding how businesses might re-open, when and if the Provincial Emergency Orders keeping them closed are rescinded. Two items related to child care are now part of these "guidelines." They are here:

Health and Safety Guidelines for Employers of Child Care Centres

Precautions When Working as a Child Care Provider

Provincial Announcement--Provincial "Plan" to Protect Child Care For Parents (May 9)

The Ontario Ministry of Education issued a news release announcing its "plan" to protect child care for parents as the economy re-opens. The announcement was unusual in that it wasn't accompanied by a Ministry Memo to licensees. It also didn't include any cost estimates or roll-out dates. The original announcement is here:

Two days later, the Ministry issued a memo and reiterated the memo's contents online:

Provincial Announcement--Expanded COVID-19 Testing Could Include Child Care Staff (April 29)

During today's Provincial press conference, reporters asked about a reopening date for licensed child care centres. Education Minister Stephen Lecce did not answer this question, but acknowledged that access to child care was an important factor in labour force participation. He insisted that reopening child care was part of the government's "framework" for re-opening the province, despite the fact that the Provincial framework document itself barely mentions child care. During questioning, the Premier indicated that child care centre staff would be included as one of the priority groups for future COVID-19 testing.

Federal Emergency Wage Subsidy Application Form Goes Live (April 27, 2020)

While the federal Emergency Wage Subsidy Program has been the subject of much discussion in recent weeks, employers haven't been able to apply for it until today. The online application form is here.

Child Care Ignored In Ontario's Economic Recovery Framework (April 27, 2020)

Today, the Ford government released A Framework for Reopening Our Province. Child care really isn't mentioned beyond indicating that any re-opening would be on the advice of public health authorities. Child care was also ignored in the April 26 announcement by Education Minister Stephen Lecce, who extended the closure of Provincially funded schools until the end of May. Just as the Province has had no plan to ensure that Ontario's independent licensed child care centres survive its COVID-19 Emergency Orders, it appears not to realize that these centres play a vital role in Ontario's economic recovery. Today's announcement did indicate that MPPs would be looking for input from the business community about "best practices" for reopening various sectors of the economy. If you have ideas about this, please take a minute and send a note to your MPP. 

Federal and Provincial Announcements Regarding Commercial Rent Relief (April 24, 2020)

The federal announcement is here:

The provincial announcement is here:

Federal and Provincial Governments Introduce Economic Aid Packages re: COVID-19 (March 26, 2020)

This week, both the federal and provincial governments announced a number of fiscal measures aimed at mitigating some of the economic damage being wrought by the COVID-19 global pandemic. There was nothing specifically aimed at stabilizing the licensed child care sector in either of these announcements.

Each announcement did, however, include a variety of measures aimed at helping small businesses cope with the cash crunch associated with the pandemic. In case you wish to review them, here are the links you need.

Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan—Support for Business

Ontario’s Action Plan—Responding to COVID-19

State of Emergency Declared--All Licensed Child Care Centres to Close Immediately (March 17, 8:30 am)

At 8:30 am on Monday, March 17, the Premier of Ontario declared a state of emergency, ordering many types of facilities closed, including licensed child care centres and private schools. The order is EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY.

Ontario's Medical Officer of Health Requests The Closure of All Child Care Centres (March 16, 2020)

Shortly after 8:00 pm on Monday, March 16, the Ontario Ministry of Health announced Enhanced Measures To Protect Ontarians from COVID-19. This statement specifically requests that all licensed child care programs close. ADCO is encouraging its members to do so. Given the timing of the Provincial announcements, centres that hadn't already closed as of Monday will likely close by the end of the business day on Tuesday, March 17.

The Ministry of Health statement came on the heels of an announcement in which Ontario's Medical Officer of Health recommended the closure of all child care centres and private schools. Dr. David William's scheduled update on the status of the COVID-19 situation also recommended that there be no gatherings larger than 50 people. Additionally, several municipal medical officers of health have recommended the closure of gathering places such as bars and restaurants, with the exception of food delivery and drive-through services.

By the end of the day, many retailers and other types of businesses had closed voluntarily or announced how they are changing the way they do business. Widespread voluntary actions may help prevent broader community lockdown orders.

Minister of Health Explains How Licensed Child Care Centres Are To Remain Open (March 15, 2020)

In an interview on Friday afternoon, on Alan Carter's 680 News radio program, Ontario Minister of Health, Christine Elliot, explained the Province's decision not to close licensed child care centres. This interview was aired on Global TV's Focus Ontario on Sunday, March 15. About 12 minutes into the segment, Minister Elliot comments on child care, indicating that additional active screening measures can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the sector. Kudos to the Simcoe County District Health Unit (SCDHU), which has acted quickly to help child care licensees implement this protocol. On Friday, SCDHU provided a tracking sheet in Excel format to help licensees document their active screening measures during the COVID-19 situation. ADCO is sharing it here as a resource for child care licensees seeking to abide by the Minister of Health's suggestion for additional active screening procedures, but who haven't yet received specific instructions from their own local health units.

Mixed Messages Coming From Municipalities About Closures (March 14, 2020)

After the close of business on Friday, March 13, 2020, two Ontario municipalities (Toronto and Peel) issued communications "recommending" that licensed child care centres remain closed through to April 5. This is in contrast with the Provincial memo sent to child care licensees earlier in the day, indicating that the Ministerial Order that closed publicly funded schools during this period does NOT apply to licensed child care centres. The subsequent notifications by the City of Toronto and Region of Peel do not appear to constitute a directive or an order under the Child Care and Early Years Act, but rather a recommendation. While licensed centres owned and operated by the City of Toronto, or located in Toronto's publicly funded school system are being closed, other centres may remain open. Some of the media reports surrounding child care and the COVID-19 situation have been vague and/or inaccurate, leading to confusion for both child care licensees and parents. Even local information services such as "311" and "211" seem to be changing their messaging hour-by-hour.

ADCO has been working overtime to try to press the Ministry of Education and local municipalities for further clarification, so its members and the families they serve have the answers they need. ADCO recognizes that during this challenging time, governments at all levels must strike an appropriate balance between preventing illness and ensuring that essential services in other sectors are not brought to a halt because of complete child care shut-downs. ADCO will post regular updates as soon as this information becomes available. See the region-by-region updates issued so far.

Ministry of Education Memo Clarifying Child Care Centres To Remain Open (March 13, 2020)

On March 13, 2020, the Ministry of Education issued a memo to municipalities and licensed child care providers across Ontario. This memo indicated that the Ministerial order that closed Ontario's publicly funded schools due to the COVID-19 threat did NOT apply to licensed child care programs. Licensed child care programs located in public schools may remain open unless otherwise directed by the individual school board involved, or by a local public health authority. Additional information was contained in the one-page memo. You may wish to review it here.

Ministry of Education Memo With Links to Guidance on Preventing COVID-19 in Child Care Centres (March 10, 2020)

On March 10, 2020, the Ministry of Education issued a memo to licensed child care providers across Ontario. This memo contained links to a number of important resources regarding best practices for preventing and responding to COVID-19. These links included:

The Public Health Agency of Canada's Guidance on the Prevention and Management of COVID-19 in Schools and Child Care Settings

The Ontario Ministry of Health COVID-19 web page, which includes updates on known cases of COVID-19, precautionary measures and handy information sheets. The information sheets are available in some 20 languages. 

Public Health Agency of Canada Travel Notices This resource is useful for those seeking to determine if Health Canada has issued any advisories regarding the level of risk present in any location to which they plan to travel.

For information specific to your local area, please contact your local public health unit.


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