WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is asking closed child-care centres to reopen and provide space for children of critical care workers in the wake of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
Families Minister Heather Stefanson says as of March 31, more than 1,200 children of health-care and other emergency services workers have found child-care.
“It is not too late to step up and help out, whether you are operating in a child-care centre or in your own home,” said Stefanson.
“Our government is providing financial support to child-care centres and early childhood educators during this difficult time, and we will continue to support the child-care sector so that we can help ensure health-care and other emergency services workers can continue working during this pandemic.”
To support centres so they can re-open during this critical time, Stefanson said the first quarter of the provincial operating grant, amounting to nearly $30 million, started flowing to all licensed child-care centres as of April 1. Licensed child-care facilities that want to help by re-opening or continuing to have spaces available should notify the province by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stefanson said operating grants won’t be cut off to any child-care centre that chooses not to reopen.
The province has also asked all child-care centres to reimburse parent fees if care has not been provided and to not charge parents to hold spots if they are not being used.
Licensed child-care centres will continue to be limited to 16 spaces to support social distancing and infection prevention measures.