British Columbia

Child-care access for essential workers to improve, province says

Essential workers may have new access to child care during the COVID-19 crisis through a referral process announced by the province Tuesday. The B.C. government said the new process will match children under five with available child-care spaces in their communities.

Health-care workers have expressed concerns about child-care access during COVID-19 crisis

Health-care workers have previously expressed concern about a dearth of child-care options in the face of school closures while they are working irregular shifts and overtime. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Essential workers may have new access to child care during the COVID-19 crisis through a referral process announced by the province Tuesday

The B.C. government said the new process will match children under five with available child-care spaces in their communities.

The children of workers in public health and health services, social services, law enforcement, first responders and emergency response will get the first crack at spaces, with other essential workers next in line, the Ministry of Child and Family Development said in a statement.

The ministry said essential workers needing child care can fill out an online form or call 1-888-338-6622. Workers will then be contacted and connected with available licensed spaces.

Health-care workers have previously expressed concern about a dearth of child-care options in the face of school closures while they are working irregular shifts and overtime.

Earlier in March, the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. questioned why B.C. was allowing child-care programs to remain open, saying every other province except Saskatchewan has closed them while adding measures to support essential workers.

In response, the province said child care was necessary for health-care workers fighting the pandemic on the front lines.

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