The federal and Ontario governments have agreed to a one-year, $147-million extension of child-care funding to help offset costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement was made at a press conference in Toronto this afternoon by Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce and Ahmed Hussen, the federal minister of families, children and social development.

Hussen and Lecce say the money will have wide-ranging benefits to Ontarians, as parents will be able to have their children taken care of while they go to work, and children will be able to safely interact with their peers once again.

Both ministers acknowledged how hard the sector had been hit by the pandemic, with around only 60 per cent of the province's child-care centres currently able to reopen.

The province says the money is an extension of the "Early Learning and Child Care Agreement" between the federal government and Ontario that was signed in 2017.

It also builds on a previous commitment of $234 million made by the federal government through the so-called "Safe Restart Agreement."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Sept. 3, 2020.