YMCA Learning and Career Child Care Centre. (Blackburnnews.com photo by Stephanie Chaves)YMCA Learning and Career Child Care Centre. (Blackburnnews.com photo by Stephanie Chaves)

Government offers compensation for child care during strike

Any Ontario family that has to pay extra for daycare because of one-day strikes by teachers unions could be eligible for some compensation from the Ontario government.

Minister of Education Stephen Lecce announced Wednesday his government is willing to pay out up to $60 for each day parents are forced to find alternative child care.

The full amount would be paid out to families with toddlers and babies attending full-day child care in facilities located in schools.  For those families with youngsters in Junior or Senior Kindergarten, the payment will be $40, and $25 for students in Grades 1 to 7.

Families with children with special needs will be eligible for up to $40 per day.

"We recognize the impact of union escalation on families is real, and unions expect hard-working families to bear the costs of their cyclical labour action. While unions impose hardship on families and students, our government is taking proactive steps to ensure students remain cared for," Lecce said in a statement.

His attempt to blame the unions for the challenges parents face in paying for child care during job action did not sit well with at least one union leader.

"This is a transparent attempt to bribe the public to support the government. Doug Ford’s Education Minister is trying to cover up the fact that this government is making massive cuts to public education and wants more cuts to elementary education at the bargaining table,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond. “A responsible Education Minister would put this money into public education funding as part of contract talks. These funds could be providing the $50-$80 million that ETFO has proposed to support students with special needs for special education.”

The government has also changed limitations for day camps to increase availability for students.

Licensed child care programs will be allowed to extend their hours, request temporary relocation to avoid labour disruptions, and request an increase in the number of children they are licensed to support.

For more details on the financial supports available to families and to apply, click here.

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