The Ontario government says it’s planning to allow licensed child care centres to open at full capacity starting September 1.
The province says this decision was made through consultations with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the COVID-19 Command Table.
EarlyON Child and Family Centres will also be permitted to reopen with in-person programming along with before- and after-school programs for children. They will remain subject to caretaker ratio requirements already covered in the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014.
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All programs will also be subject to health and safety protocols.
“Our government is gradually and safely supporting child care expansion to ensure moms and dads across the province can return to work with confidence,” said Minister of Education Stephen Lecce in a release. “We will continue to ensure strict health and safety protocols remain in place, to keep our youngest learners safe.”
The government says it will continue to follow the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the COVID-19 Command Table to ensure the health and safety of the children and staff is maintained.
Health and safety procedures put in place as part of the economic reopening plan, will remain in place, the province says.
Included in these measures is the requirement for all care staff to wear masks, frequent cleaning of child care centres, screening before entering a childcare facility, and frequent hand washing.
“Child care and early years programs will operate with additional health and safety procedures in place upon fully reopening,” Lecce added. “And rest assured, if at any time the health and safety of the children is jeopardized, we will take action immediately.”
The province says it will also provide additional funding, with support from the federal government through the Safe Restart Agreement, to help child care centres purchase cleaning supplies, PPE, and support staffing needs related to new procedures.
There are currently over 5,500 child care centres and 124 licensed home daycares across Ontario.