Toronto

Ontario stops child-care centres from collecting payments amid COVID-19, protects spots

The Ontario government has moved to stop child-care centres from collecting payments from parents while the facilities are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Order also means that parents cannot lose their child-care space because they aren't paying

An emergency order issued Friday prevents child-care operators from charging parents fees while care is not being provided. (Marina von Stackelberg/CBC)

The Ontario government has moved to stop child-care centres from collecting payments from parents while the facilities are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

An emergency order issued Friday prevents child-care operators from charging parents fees while care is not being provided.

"The order also means that parents cannot lose their child-care space because they are not paying fees during this period," the province said in a news release.

"COVID-19 has imposed significant financial pressure on working parents," said Stephen Lecce, Ontario's education minister.

"We need to support our parents who may be facing reduced income or layoffs during the COVID-19 outbreak."

Child-care providers are being encouraged to seek out supports for businesses and individuals under the federal government's economic recovery plan, the release says. 

Most licensed child-care centres in Ontario have now been closed for three weeks since the province's emergency order mid-March.

Some centres providing child care for health-care and other front-line workers, along with home-based providers, are allowed to continue operating.

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