Ontario expands list of essential workers so more can access emergency child care


TORONTO - Ontario is expanding the list of essential workers eligible to receive emergency childcare.

The announcement comes as thousands of students attend school remotely to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce revealed the expanded list at a rare weekend news conference this morning.

Workers now eligible for childcare include Canada Post employees, staff with the RCMP or Canada Border Services, court services staff, power workers and those providing services to the homeless.

Lecce says childcare will also be available for education staff who are required to attend school in-person to teach students who cannot learn remotely.

Ontario residents working in victims services, providing frontline services with children's aid societies or intervenor services for the deaf and deafblind are also among those on the list.

Earlier this week, the province announced schools across southern Ontario would not be returning to in-person classes on Monday as planned, but would instead continue attending classes remotely until at least Jan. 25.

The move was prompted by soaring case numbers that have seen Ontario record more than 3,000 new infections per day for weeks.

The province recorded 3,443 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Saturday, along with 40 related deaths.

Below is the province's newly released list of frontline workers eligible for emergency child care for at least the next two weeks:

  • Front-line staff in Children's Aid Societies and residential services
  •  Individuals working in developmental services, violence against women services, and anti-human trafficking 
  •  Individuals working in victims' services
  •  Individuals engaged in interpreting or intervenor services for persons who are deaf or deaf-blind
  •  Individuals working in a homeless shelter or providing services to homeless persons
  •  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
  •  Pharma and medical device manufacturing and distribution
  •  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 the Province of Ontario