Child care for essential workers

gmcneil COVID-19 Fact Sheets, Occupational Health & Safety

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Many CUPE members have questions about child care during this very challenging time. Essential workers who are providing health and critical public services during the pandemic and who do not have access to child care may be eligible for government-sponsored child care.

  • Limited child care services will be available for children ages one to 13 years in existing child care centres, family child care homes, and schools, subject to availability.
  • Existing health and safety requirements will apply but reduced child care group sizes will be implemented in order to protect the safety of staff and children as recommended by public health.
  • Regulated child care services typically operate between 7:30am-5:30pm, Monday-Friday.
  • School-based child care will be available for school-aged children only and will operate between 8:00am-5:00pm, Monday-Friday.

Option 1:

You are able to arrange, or have already arranged, child care in a home environment with family members, or trusted friends or neighbours. Public health officials advise this is the preferred arrangement during the pandemic. Families using this option will be reimbursed up to $200.00 per child/per week, upon submission of invoices and receipts.

If you are unable to arrange child care in a home environment as noted above, the following options are available at no cost:

Option 2:

Child care for school aged children in a school (ages 5 – 13).

Option 3:

Child care for pre-school aged children in a regulated child care centre or family care home.

Program Eligibility:

Individuals required to report to a place of work deemed as an essential service during the COVID-19 pandemic are considered an essential employee (e.g., health care workers, pharmacists, first responders, public sector workers, early childhood educators, etc).

Essential employees are not eligible for essential service child care where:

  1. An adult is residing in the home is working from home.
  2. A person is residing in the home and able to care for children.

Essential workers with a partner working from home can apply for an exemption if they still require child care.

For more information and to apply go to: