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Toronto’s 4 emergency child care centres for essential workers open today

Children's backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. A new report says federal spending on child care has eased daycare costs in a handful of cities nationwide where Ottawa's cash was used to reduce fees. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Four emergency licensed child care centres have opened in Toronto, designed to help essential and critical service workers.

The province announced on March 22 that it would allow some childcare centres to stay open to care for the children of health workers and first responders.

The centres will be funded by the Ontario government.

The child care service will be provided for free for all children under 12 and will operate seven-days-a-week, 24 hours a day.

“We are the first city in Ontario to develop a plan for 24/7 child care for frontline workers who need it,’ Mayor John Tory said in a statement.

“We have worked with the Province of Ontario in full cooperation to quickly open the application process and have the sites up and running. This is part of our ongoing work to do everything we can at the City of Toronto to help people get through this pandemic.”

Since the announcement, the city says 487 families have applied for a spot – adding up to more than 700 children.

City officials say 64 per cent of those who applied are frontline health care workers.

When the centres open their doors Tuesday, more than 100 children will be in their care.

Due to health care restrictions put in place by the province, only 30 children will be in attendance at each emergency child care centre at a time.

Toronto officials say they continue to work with the province and will monitor the demand to determine if more emergency child care centres need be opened.

Currently, the biggest demand for the centres comes from the downtown core.

The child care centres in Toronto are:

  • Malvern Early Learning and Child Care centre on Neilson Road;
  • Jesse Ketchum Early Learning and Child Care centre on Berryman Street at Davenport and Bay Streets;
  • Thomas Berry Early Learning and Child Care centre at Lake Shore Boulevard and Thirtieth Street and
  • Falstaff Early Learning and Child Care centre on Falstaff Avenue at Jane and Wilson Streets.
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