Ontario is extending free child care to essential workers, from grocery store clerks to hospital workers


TORONTO — The Ontario government is providing eligible health care and other frontline workers with free emergency child care for school-aged children, starting Monday, April 19, 2021. The announcement was made following the province’s decision to move elementary and secondary students across the province to remote learning following the April spring break.

We’ve know that parents in Kenora–Rainy River need access to emergency childcare now and that is why our government has worked with local service boards to offer free childcare starting next Monday,” said Greg Rickford, MPP for Kenora–Rainy River. “Frontline workers have supported us throughout this pandemic and we are making sure they have access the service they need to care for their children, just as they have cared for our communities.”

Free, emergency child care is being made available to a variety of essential workers. Anyone eligible in the Rainy River District is asked to contact the Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board, at 274-5349 ext 241 or visit www.rrdssab.ca/childcare for more information.

To see if you are eligible, see the list of accepted professions here:


“Our government is once again stepping up to provide health care and other frontline workers with access to emergency child care as they continue to work around the clock in our fight against COVID-19,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “Doing so will allow these frontline workers to perform their duties knowing that their children are safe and in good hands.”

During the remote learning period, emergency child care will be provided at no cost to school-aged children of eligible health care and other frontline workers. The service is intended for workers performing critical duties in the province’s continued fight against COVID-19 who cannot work remotely and who have elementary school-aged children. 

“Child care is an absolutely critical part of our fight against COVID-19, and will be key to our economic recovery. I want to thank Ontario’s dedicated child care staff who have stepped up time and again to provide your children with the care they deserve,” added Minister Lecce.

The provision of safe, quality child care remains a priority for the Ontario government and the role that child care workers have played has been vital to supporting children and families and keeping child care safe throughout the pandemic. In order to protect child care workers and keep child care settings open and available for working families, child care workers, including Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs), are eligible to be vaccinated as part of Phase Two of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. This is in addition to the strong health and safety standards in place to protect workers and children across child care settings. 

The move to remote learning was made in light of a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, the increasing risks posed to the public by COVID-19 variants, and the concerning spike in hospital admissions. With appropriate measures in place, child care and schools have been kept safe throughout the pandemic, as confirmed by the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local medical officers of health.