June 9, 2020, Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Education Stephen Lecce announced the government’s plan to reopen child care centres across the province in order to support parents as many regions of Ontario move into stage two of reopening on June 12.
Premier Ford and Minister Lecce were joined by Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott.
Ontario Announces Plan to Reopen Child Care Province-Wide on June 12
This afternoon, Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Education Stephen Lecce announced Ontario’s plan to reopen child care centres across the province, in order to support families as many regions prepare to move into stage two of reopening this Friday, June 12.
On Friday, June 12, all child care centres and home care providers across Ontario will be permitted to reopen, regardless of whether the facility is located in a region that remains in stage one, or has moved to stage two of reopening.
Centres will be required to adhere to strict health protocols to ensure the safety of staff and children. These guidelines are similar to the safety guidelines required for emergency child care centres operating during COVID-19, and were developed in consultation with Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and The Hospital for Sick Children. Guidelines include:
- Cohorting – putting children and staff in groups of 10 or less, day over day;
- COVID-19 response plan – all child care settings will be required to have a plan in place if a child, parent, or staff members/provider is exposed to COVID-19;
- Screening – all staff and children must be screened prior to entry to the child care setting. Anyone feeling unwell must stay home;
- Daily attendance records – child care settings must keep daily records of all attendees in order to support contact tracing;
- Cleaning – child care settings must be thoroughly cleaned before opening and frequently thereafter;
- No visitors – only essential visitors are permitted entry into the child care setting;
- Implement drop-off and pick-up protocols in a way that facilitates physical distancing.
Staff will be permitted to re-enter child care facilities, effective immediately, in order to begin preparation for reopening. Operators will only be permitted to reopen once they have met the above guidelines.
Emergency child care provided during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic will be phased out by June 26 as licensed child care centres are permitted to open province-wide. Families served through emergency child care will be supported by service system managers to return to their previous arrangement or to find a new space during the transition back to regular child care. Should demand for child care outweigh the number of spots available as a result of health and safety restrictions, first responders and frontline workers who previously received emergency child care will be given priority access.
Note: an emergency order will remain in place to ensure that parents are not charged and will not risk losing their child care space if they are not offered access to their previous arrangement. The emergency order will also apply to parents who opt not to put their child back in a centre during this time.
Additionally, Premier Ford announced that the government will enable summer day camp programs to reopen as part of stage two. Day camps will be required to follow health and safety guidelines developed by the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Labour, Training And Skills Development and municipalities.