As the Province takes steps to reopen Ontario’s economy, parents remain uncertain about summer child care plans.
On Friday, the City of Toronto announced that regular summer camp programs would be cancelled. Families will automatically be sent refunds of registration fees. City staff are developing a new program, called CampTO, to allow some high-quality camp programming within current public health guidelines. This means spaces may only be 50% of what would normally be available.
Yesterday, Premier Ford announced that overnight camps across Ontario would also be closed for the summer while announcing that schools would remain closed through June.
Though the Premier held out some hope that daycare centres and day camps could re-open as part of Stage 2 of the province’s recovery, that timing remains uncertain. If it is possible to safely re-open these facilities, they would also come with significant restrictions on enrollment and programming. Concerns remain that until the number of new COVID-19 cases drops significantly from current levels, any such activities would remain high risk.
With more businesses trying to resume normal activity and availability of childcare questionable, parents are left with many questions and few options. The City continues to run several child care centres 24/7 for children of essential and critical service workers in need. Other parents being asked to return to work that need to provide child care at home can also consider applying for the federal CERB program providing up to $500 per week for 16 weeks. For more information on CERB and other government supports click here.