The District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board (DSSMSSAB) has received approval from the Province of Ontario to open the first centre in our community to provide licensed emergency child care for children of health care providers and other essential service workers.
This centre will be operated by the YMCA at their McNabb St. location and will open on April 13, 2020. “For 120 years, the Y has been here for our community in times of crisis, and this is no different,” YMCA CEO Tracey Cooke said. “We have been working diligently on plans to provide needed services to Sault Ste. Marie and are proud to partner with Social Services to support our front line workers by providing emergency child care.”
To support members of this essential and critical workforce, this licensed child care service will be funded by the Province of Ontario at no cost to families, and available for children under age 12. Services will operate with extended hours up to 14 hours a day, and if required, seven days a week.
Emergency child care services are reserved exclusively for children of essential and critical service workers identified in the Province of Ontario’s “List of Workers Eligible for Emergency Child Care,” and who have limited alternatives. Priority will be determined by Social Services based on eligibility and available spaces.
There a number workers that are eligible for emergency child care, including, but not limited to, regulated health care professionals, unregulated health care providers working in health care, paramedics, police officers, firefighters or individuals providing fire protection services, as well as individuals who perform work that is essential to the delivery of core services in a municipality. Child care staff who are working in the emergency child care program are also eligible to access this care.
Essential service workers are to complete and submit the online application available at www.socialservices-ssmd.ca and will be contacted by Social Services staff to receive more information.
Additional measures, in consultation with Algoma Public Health, are being taken to maintain a healthy and safe environment for Early Childhood Educators, children and families. Precautions include daily screening of children and staff, increased disinfection, reduced group sizes and limiting the number of people in the centre to 50.
“I want to recognize the Early Childhood educators and the YMCA for providing this critical service. This is understandably a period of uncertainty and concern for members of our community, but as this initiative demonstrates there are many people working hard to ensure we get through the COVID-19 pandemic together,” said Mayor Provenzano