Today, the Ontario government announced its plan to reopen child care centres across the province to support the next stage of the province’s reopening framework. Developed in consultation with Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and medical leaders at The Hospital for Sick Children, the plan will require child care operators to follow strict health protocols to ensure the safety of child care staff and children.
As the province continues to implement its Framework for Reopening the Province, child care centres and home care providers across Ontario will be able to reopen with strict safety and operational requirements in place, similar to the safety guidelines required for emergency child care centres. Centres will be required to adopt specific rules, including:
- Cohorting ― putting children and staff in groups of 10 or less day over day;
- COVID-19 response plan ― all child care settings will be required to have a plan in place if a child, parent or staff member/provider is exposed to COVID-19;
- Screening ― all staff and children must be screened prior to entry to the child care setting. Anyone feeling unwell must stay home;
- Daily attendance records ― child care settings must keep daily records of all attendees in order to support contact tracing;
- Cleaning ― child care settings must be thoroughly cleaned before opening and frequently thereafter;
- No visitors ― only essential visitors are permitted entry into the child care setting;
- Implementing drop-off and pick-up protocols in a way that facilitates physical distancing.
Effectively immediately, staff can re-enter child care facilities and begin preparation for reopening. When these operators have met all the strict and stringent guidelines for reopening, they will be permitted to reopen.
Based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and with strict health and safety protocols in place, the government is now enabling summer day camp programs across the province to reopen this summer. Strict health and safety guidelines were developed by the Ministry of Health in partnership with public health, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and municipalities, and distributed to local public health teams earlier this month. At this time, overnight camps are not permitted to operate in the summer of 2020.
Canadian seniors across the country are facing significant health, economic, and social challenges due to COVID-19. Physical distancing is weighing heavily on those who are separated from their families, and rely on help to get groceries and other essential items. We need to support seniors and to be there for them, as they have been for us.
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will receive their special one-time, tax-free payment during the week of July 6. Through this measure and others, the government is providing nearly $900 more for single seniors and more than $1,500 for senior couples, on top of their existing benefits, to help these vulnerable Canadians with extra costs during the pandemic.
Seniors eligible for the OAS pension will receive a payment of $300, and those also eligible for the GIS will receive an additional $200, for a total of $500. Allowance recipients will also receive $500. This $2.5 billion in financial support will help Canadian seniors cover increased costs caused by COVID-19, and give them greater financial security in this time of crisis.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Government of Canada has introduced a number of measures to support seniors, including those most vulnerable. This includes a one-time special payment through the Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit in April, which provided an average of $375 to single seniors and $510 to senior couples, helping over 4 million low- and modest-income seniors. We are also investing an additional $20 million in community organizations that offer services to seniors, and have reduced minimum withdrawal requirements for all types of registered retirement income funds (RRIFs) by 25 per cent for the year 2020. In addition, we have taken steps to make sure seniors would continue to receive their GIS benefits if they were unable to submit their 2019 income information on time.
As we gradually restart our economy, the Government of Canada will continue to support all Canadians, including seniors and those most vulnerable, and respond to the health, social, and economic impacts of COVID-19.
Ontario has created a new self-assessment tool
If you think you have 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use this self-assessment to help determine if you need to seek further care. Visit here.
While the city is gradually reopening and many will resume work, there are many things we must all keep in mind in order to ensure our safety and health.
Toronto Public Health has shared some health and safety tips for Torontonians that carry instructions on how we can re-adjust ourselves with the new normalcy.