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The City of Ottawa says it will continue working with local partners to increase capacity in emergency childcare for front-line workers as schools remain closed for in-person learning.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced the province would expand eligibility for its emergency childcare program to include more frontline workers during the COVID-19 lockdown and school closures.

In a memo to Council, Community and Social Services General Manager Donna Gray said there are currently 12 not-for-profit service providers, at 31 sites, providing emergency care to 104 children.

The Ministry of Education must approve a targeted emergency childcare site through the City of Ottawa's Children's Services.

"As the provincial list of eligible workers evolves, Children’s Services will continue to work with local partners to increase the capacity to serve eligible families, including seeking provincial approval for additional interested not-for-profit service providers," said Gray.

The emergency childcare is available to those working in health care settings, as well as those involved in public safety, whose children are enrolled in school.

The City of Ottawa's targeted emergency childcare program for school-aged children has been operational since Jan. 4. Gray says it will continue to be offered at no-cost to eligible families based on the Ministry of Education's approved eligible worker list.

Full details on the targeted emergency child care program for school-age children is available on ottawa.ca

Meantime, Gray says there are no impacts during the lockdown to the City of Ottawa's municipal childcare centres, who offer child care to children 0 to 4 years old, and who are not enrolled in a school program.

Gray says spaces are available at the childcare centres.

Here’s a full list of workers now eligible for Ontario's emergency childcare program:

  • Front-line staff in Children’s Aid Societies and residential services.
  • Individuals working in developmental services, violence against women services, and antihuman trafficking.
  • Individuals working in victims’ services.
  • Individuals engaged in interpreting or intervener services for persons who are deaf or deafblind.
  • Individuals working in a homeless shelter or providing services to people who are homeless.
  • Food safety inspectors and individuals working in the processing, manufacturing or distribution of food and beverages.
  • Provincial court services personnel, including Indigenous court workers.
  • OPS staff employed in radiation protection services.
  • RCMP and Canada Border Services.
  • Canada Post workers.
  • Pharma and medical device manufacturing and distribution workers.
  • Power workers.
  • Non-municipal water and wastewater workers.
  • Education staff who are required to attend schools to provide in-person instruction and support to students with special education needs who cannot be accommodated through remote learning.
  • Employees of a hotel or motel that is acting as an isolation centre, health care centre, vaccine clinic or housing essential workers.

With files from CTV News Toronto's Miriam Katawazi