Province announces $2M relief fund for early learning in response to COVID-19

Friday the P.E.I. government announced funding of up to $2 million to further support early learning centres, staff and parents.

Weekly allowance for affected workers also jumps to $250 from $200

Minister of Economic Growth Matthew MacKay said the new Emergency Relief Worker Assistance program has received more than 1,000 applications since it was introduced earlier this week. (Julien Lecacheur/CBC-Radio Canada)

The P.E.I. government announced funding of up to $2 million to further support early learning centres, staff and parents Friday.

Minister of Education Brad Trivers said the funding will ensure that families will not have to pay fees while early learning centres are required to be closed. The fund is expected to cover the next six weeks. 

Trivers said the province will be pausing any student loan repayments for the next six months, effective March 30. Students will not have to reapply. 

He also said the province will have additional education resources available online beginning Monday. He said Grade 12 students shouldn't be worried about graduating and online learning supports will start with them. 

Minister of Economic Growth Matthew MacKay said the Emergency Relief Worker Assistance Program announced earlier this week is being increased from $200 to $250. He said there is no deadline to apply for the program. 

The program asks Island employers to fill out an application, which serves to identify workers who have experienced a significant reduction in their hours of work in the face of the pandemic. 

Once the application has been approved, a weekly allowance will be sent directly to the affected workers, through their employers and their regular payroll.

"Our goal was to get money into the hands of impacted workers as quickly as we could without asking workers to jump through a bunch of hoops and fill out forms," MacKay said. 

Applications for that program will be available on the provincial government's COVID-19 website under the business tab. 

MacKay added the new Emergency Income Relief Fund — which is offering up to $500 a week for self-employed Islanders — has received more than 1,000 applications since it was introduced earlier this week.

COVID-19: What you need to know

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Isolate yourself and call your local public health authority. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Be aware of evolving travel advisories to different regions.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

More COVID-19 stories from CBC P.E.I.


Sam Juric


Sam Juric is a CBC reporter and producer, through which she's had the privilege of telling stories from P.E.I., Sudbury and Nunavut.


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