The Ontario government is set to provide funding to cash-strapped child-care centres across the province, which were given the green light to reopen as of Friday as the province continues to grapple with daily new cases of COVID-19.
According to Alexandra Adamo, spokesperson for Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce, a memo was sent to daycare providers Thursday night with details of the new funding.
That memo, which was obtained by CBC News, says providers can expect to receive funds to help with extra staffing, cleaning, personal protective equipment (PPE) and reduced groups of children.
Prior to Friday night's announcement, parents and daycare operators had raised questions about who will pay for those expenses ahead of the reopening of child-care centres. Partly because of those questions, many daycares remain closed even though the province says they can now operate, and parents are hesitant to send their kids to facilities that are open.
The province also said in the memo that day-care centres will not be allowed to charge parents more than they did before the pandemic.
"Operators will need to maintain parent fees at a pre-closure level (i.e. in March 2020) until the end of August," the memo states.
Additionally, federal supports provided under Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan must continue to be maximized, according to the note.
The memo notes that school boards will continue to abstain from taking rent from child-care or EarlyON centres located in schools until those schools reopen in September.
The province says it will also continue to provide funding to facilities that remain closed in the reopening phase in order to support eligible fixed overhead costs and EarlyON virtual programming.
The City of Toronto — which had previously said it would wait to reopen its own facilities — made a similar move Friday, announcing that city-run child-care centres will start reopening as of June 29 with the help of municipal funding.