Child care advocates say providers need pandemic relief from government

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TORONTO — A coalition of child care advocates is calling on the province to offer financial assistance to providers across Ontario to ensure none close as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Coalition for Better Child Care says many of the centres, which are closed and not collecting fees during the pandemic, have laid off staff and are having trouble paying their bills.

The group is asking the province to provide emergency funds to the centres to replace the fees normally paid by parents.

Last week, Ontario’s education minister said the province would prevent child-care centres from collecting payments while they’re closed due to the pandemic.

Stephen Lecce says he is working with both the federal and municipal governments to ensure the child-care system remains sustainable.

Some child-care centres that are looking after the children of health-care and other front-line workers have remained open, but the rest have been shuttered due to the pandemic.