Child care providers say Ontario government’s efforts to help falling far short

TORONTO — The organization representing Ontario’s child-care providers says the government hasn’t done enough to help them bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.

A letter from the Association of Day Care Operators of Ontario says most child-care centres in the province remain closed, despite receiving the green light for a limited reopening weeks ago.

The association says that, while the province has promised financial aid for the sector, virtually none of that money has reached its intended targets yet.

It says the lack of funding, coupled with steep declines in revenue and rising operating costs, leave many child-care centres at risk of permanent closure.

Read more: Coronavirus: Ontario allows child-care centres to reopen

Meanwhile, Ontario reported 157 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and seven new deaths related to the novel coronavirus.

Story continues below advertisement

The total number of cases now stands at 35,068, which includes 30,344 marked as resolved and 2,672 deaths.

The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 dropped to 213 on Tuesday from 232 the day before.

The numbers of people in intensive care and using ventilators also dropped.

The province completed more than 23,700 tests for the novel coronavirus over the previous 24 hours, according to Health Minister Christine Elliott. Of the province’s 34 public health units, 27 are reporting five or fewer new cases, said Elliott.

Coronavirus: The future of daycare and child care services
Coronavirus: The future of daycare and child care services

The child-care group said the province hasn’t provided the sector with a clear reopening plan, largely leaving key details up to municipalities and regional public health units.

“Independent licensed child-care centres play a vital role in Ontario’s economic recovery,” executive director Andrea Hannen said in the letter.

Story continues below advertisement

“Ontario parents want to get back to work and they’re relying on this government to take the lead on getting licensed child-care centres the funding, supplies and timely approvals they need to reopen.”

The province’s Ministry of Education, which oversees child-care facilities, did not immediately respond to request for comment.

© 2020 The Canadian Press