Early next week, Toronto will start reopening childcare centres to support parents returning to work and to help with the restart of the economy.
The Province of Ontario announced that licenced childcare services could begin to operate as of June 12 as part of its reopening plan.
On Thursday, the City announced that on June 29, 11 Early Learning & Child Care Centres (TELCCC) will reopen and are required to follow “strict operational requirements to help ensure the health and safety of children, their families and staff.”
The City is taking a “careful and gradual” approach to reopening centres with the majority of the remaining 36 centres planned to reopen in July and August.
“Access to child care and the early years’ system is critical for the economic and social health of Toronto. Safely and carefully reopening our child care centres is a critical component of recovery and rebuild for the City,” Mayor John Tory said.
The City says it’s been actively working with the Province, Toronto Public Health, and community child care providers to assess what will be needed to reopen this sector of more than 1,050 child care programs.
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The City is also working closely with licensed child care providers to ensure that they have access to the latest in COVID-19 health and safety training and guidelines, as well as best practices learned from operating emergency child care programs for essential workers.
Licensed child care providers will slowly resume modified operations once they have followed all of the requirements set by the provincial and municipal governments.
Some requirements include limiting cohort sizes, having a COVID-19 response plan if someone connected to the centre is exposed to the virus, screening staff and children prior to entering the centre, enhanced cleaning and sanitation, not allowing visitors in the centres, and implementing drop-off and pick-up protocols in a way that allows for physical distancing.
Families are also asked to contact their child care provider directly regarding the status of their services.
The City’s Children’s Services district offices will also reopen in the coming weeks.
It’s important to note that families who had been receiving child care fee subsidies will continue to receive this funding once they resume child care arrangements.
The emergency child care services, that have been running since the start of the pandemic, will close on June 26 at the direction of the Province as regular child care services resume.
Toronto, as per the recommendation from the Province, will prioritize child care spaces for emergency child care workers, and has provided similar guidelines and recommendations to child care operators that have service agreements with the City.