District of Muskoka
The District Municipality of Muskoka (District) has received provincial approval to open an Emergency Child Care Centre for up to 20 spaces to support health care and frontline workers with no alternatives for care during the COVID-19 emergency.
The safest option continues to be for children to remain at home if at all possible.
How Was the Centre Approved to Open?
Licensed child care centres in Ontario were required to close on March 17, 2020 when Ontario declared a state of emergency. The Ministry of Education has been working with service system managers (including the District) to re-open select centres to provide emergency care.
On April 3rd, the District launched a Child Care Needs Assessment Survey to better understand the needs for emergency child care in Muskoka and to better assess the capacity of the child care sector to meet those needs.
Through this process, a third party licensed child care operator expressed interest in providing emergency child care services and the District has made an application to the province which was approved last week.
Who is Eligible for Emergency Child Care Services?
Emergency child care services are reserved exclusively for children of essential service workers who have no other alternatives. The safest option for your family is to have children remain at home, if at all possible.
A list of workers eligible for emergency child care services can be found on the Province of Ontario webpage: Child Care for Health Care and Frontline Staff - Eligibility List
How Do I Apply?
The application for emergency child care will be made available on the District website at 8:00 a.m. Tuesday April 28, 2020 at the following link: www.muskoka.on.ca/emergencychildcare.
Applications will be reviewed on a first come first served basis.
Are More Child Care Spaces Expected?
The availability of emergency childcare is limited province-wide. To ensure proper infection control and safety requirements related to COVID-19, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has advised the total spaces available at the centre will be dependent on the age of the children in each of the rooms. There are currently 1,000 emergency child care spaces across Ontario being funded by the province during the COVID-19 emergency. 36 (including the District) of the 47 Consolidated Municipal Service Managers and District Social Service Administrative Boards have applied to provide emergency care, and Muskoka has been approved for up to 20 of those available spaces to date.
The District will continue to work with the Province, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, and the third party licensed operator to ensure additional health and safety protocols are in place to maintain a safe and healthy environment for all staff, children, and families and respond to provincial and municipal pandemic response plans.
For more information please visit: www.muskoka.on.ca/emergencychildcare