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Ontario child care centres allowed to reopen starting June 12

Wednesday, June 10, 2020 @ 2:16 PM | By John Schofield

Child care centres across Ontario will be allowed to reopen as early as June 12 if stipulated safety measures are in place, the Progressive Conservative government of Premier Doug Ford announced June 9.

The government edict applies even to child care centres in cities such as Toronto, Hamilton and Windsor, which have not been given the green light to enter stage 2 of the province’s reopening starting June 12.

According to a government news release, the plan to reopen child care centres was developed in consultation with Ontario’s chief medical officer of health and medical leaders at The Hospital for Sick Children.

All centres will be required to adopt specific health and safety measures, including putting children and staff in groups of 10 or less each day; putting a plan in place if anyone is exposed to COVID-19; screening all staff and children prior to entry; daily attendance records to support contact tracing; thorough daily cleaning; barring non-essential visitors; and implementing dropoff and pickup protocols that facilitate physical distancing.

Effective immediately, child care staff are allowed to re-enter child care facilities to begin preparation for reopening.

The news release noted that emergency child care will wind down effective June 26 as all licensed child care centres are permitted to open provincewide.

The government is also allowing day camp programs across the province to reopen this summer.

The Ontario government’s Support for Families program is providing families with a one-time payment of $200 per child up to 12 years of age and $250 for those with special needs up to 21 years of age, including children enrolled in private schools.

“We know the integral role child care plays in the restart of Ontario’s economy, especially when it comes to enabling parents to return to work,” Education Minister Stephen Lecce said in the news release. “But parents must have confidence in the child care system at this very difficult time. By imposing specific public health requirements, we are signalling our firm commitment to keeping our children, staff and our families safe.”