Early years and child care sector financial support

Learn about the plan to support the early years and child care sector during recovery from the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Financial relief and support during the reopening

A stable and accessible early years and child care system will be critical to Ontario's recovery following the COVID-19 outbreak. This is why Ontario is providing funding to support the child care sector financially as it transitions to reopening child care and serving families.

Starting June 12, 2020, the government has permitted child care centres to reopen throughout the province, under enhanced health and safety protocols. Please note that this funding approach will continue until August 29, 2020.

Centres are required to follow strict operational requirements to support the health and safety of children, families and staff as outlined in the Operational Guidance document.

Support for operators

With Purchase of Service (POS) funding agreements:

  • Provincial funding will continue to be provided through Consolidated Municipal Service Managers (CMSMs) and District Social Services Administration Boards (DSSABs) for child care centres that have a Purchase of Service (POS) Agreement for general operating and/or fee subsidies.

Without Purchase of Service (POS) funding agreements:
Child care operators who do not have a purchase of service agreement can apply directly to the Ministry of Education for funding support during this reopening period. Not having a purchase of service agreement is defined as not having a purchase of service agreement for general operating and/or fee subsidy funding with a CMSM/DSSAB.

The funding parameters for the reopening period can be summarized as follows:

  • Available federal supports in Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan must continue to be maximized (see Salary and Wage Supports section below)
  • For licensed child care centres that reopen, provincial funding will be provided to support required personal protective equipment (PPE) and enhanced cleaning costs in child care centres (over and above regular cleaning costs prior to COVID-19).
  • After operators have maximized federal supports, operators can apply for provincial funding to assist with operating costs that are not covered due to reduced capacity (i.e. reduced parent fee revenues).

For child care centres that remain closed in the reopening phase, funding continues to be provided following the sustainability plan principles during the emergency closure period to support eligible fixed overhead costs (see below for details).

  • Please ensure that documentation or proof is provided for each cost category where funding is being requested.  
  • The completed application form should be sent to: childcare@ontario.ca
    • Use the subject line: “Application (Reopening) - Name of Centre and City – NonPOS Centre”
    • Submit application forms by July 31, 2020
  • For licensed child care centres that remain closed, operators can continue to receive funding for eligible fixed overhead costs, based on the approved closure period application form.

Parent Fees

Provincial funding to support reopening child care will be contingent on operators not increasing parent fees. Operators will need to maintain parent fees at a pre-closure level (i.e. March 2020) until the end of August.

For operators who do not have a purchase of service agreement with a CMSM/DSSAB, as part of the application process, operators will need to attest that parent fees will not be higher than the fees charged in March 2020 in order to receive provincial funding to support reopening child care.

For operators who have a purchase of service agreement with a CMSM/DSSAB, CMSMs/DSSABs should work with operators to ensure that parent fees will not be higher than the fees charged prior to the closure period.

Financial relief and support during the closure period

Eligible child care and EarlyON Child and Family Centres can receive support to offset fixed overhead costs during the temporary COVID-19 closure.

Working with federal and municipal partners, eligible child care providers and EarlyON Child and Family Centres can receive financial relief and support to help them reopen.

Support for Rent:

  • School boards will not be charging rent to child care or EarlyON Child and Family Centres located in schools until September.
  • Child care centres located in community-based settings should work with their landlord to determine whether they will benefit from the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (CECRA). This program will be retroactive to April 1, 2020. Provincial funding will be provided to eligible child care operators who benefit from CECRA to pay the tenant and provincial portions of rent, up to 37.5%, as outlined in CECRA.
    • The Ministry of Education will flow funding to eligible child care operators benefitting from CECRA to pay the tenant portion (25%) of rent.
    • The additional provincial portion (12.5%) of support for rent will flow through the CECRA program.
  • For child care operators whose landlords are not benefitting from the CECRA program during the closure period, provincial funding will be provided.
    • Operators whose landlords are not eligible for CECRA can receive 75% of their rent for this period from the Province.
    • For operators with landlords that are unwilling to apply for CECRA, the ministry will fund what would have been the 25% tenant portion of rent.
  • These supports are being provided in conjunction with the recent change to temporarily suspend commercial tenancy evictions by landlords that have small business tenants that would be eligible for rent support through the CECRA program.
  • The CECRA is a federal program. To receive more information, visit the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's website and sign-up to receive additional details including when the application process opens: https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/finance-and-investing/covid19-cecra-small-business

Other Fixed Overhead Costs:
The Ministry of Education will also provide funding supports for other fixed overhead costs.  Examples may include:

  • Property tax;
  • Utility costs (e.g. hydro, gas);
  • Insurance; and
  • Loan interest payments

Support for fixed overhead costs for operators

With Purchase of Service (POS) funding agreements:

  • Consolidated Municipal Service Managers (CMSM) and District Social Services Administration Boards (DSSABs) will work directly with child care centres that have a Purchase of Service (POS) Agreement for general operating and/or fee subsidies.

Without Purchase of Service (POS) funding agreements:

  • Child care centres that do not currently have a purchase of service agreement (POS) which provides general operating and/or fee subsidy funding with a CMSM or DSSAB are eligible to apply for provincial funding directly from the Ministry of Education to offset the eligible portion of their fixed overhead costs from the date they stopped charging parent fees during this closure period.
  • Please ensure that documentation or proof is provided for each fixed overhead cost category where funding is being requested. Child care centres should make efforts to mitigate these costs.
  • The completed application form should be sent to: childcare@ontario.ca
    • Use the subject line: “Application (Overhead) - Name of Centre and City – NonPOS Centre”
    • Submit application forms for the closure period by July 31, 2020.

Salary and Wage Supports

  • The federal government is providing supports for businesses and individuals related to COVID-19, including the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) for businesses and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit for individuals.
  • For ease of reference, below is a link to the federal government site that outlines all federal supports in Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html
  • We encourage child care operators to research and optimize these federal supports for staff not working during the closure period so that they are in a position to reopen and to ensure staff are supported throughout the outbreak.
  • All child care centres are required to apply for Federal COVID-19 Economic Response Plan funding to support staffing costs retroactively to March 15, 2020.
  • The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy website includes frequently asked questions: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/subsidy/emergency-wage-subsidy/cews-frequently-asked-questions.html#h_3
  • A CEWS line is set up to answer applicants' question for the CEWS and applications: 1-833-966-2099

EarlyON Child and Family Centres

  • Provincial funding, including salaries and wages, will be provided for the days/hours worked.
  • Provincial funding will be provided to service providers to pay monthly overhead costs, so that they are able to reopen operations following the period of closure. CMSMs/DSSABs will work directly with EarlyON Centres in their area.
  • Operating funding for Indigenous-led, off-reserve programming and Special Needs Resourcing funding will continue to be provided for days/hours worked to provide service.
  • Service providers are encouraged to research and optimize federal supports for staff not working during the declaration of emergency.

Home Child Care

  • Provincial funding continues to be provided for base funding for all licensed home child care agencies who have a purchase of service agreement for base funding with a CMSM/DSSAB.
  • Provincial Wage Enhancement Grant/Home Child Care Enhancement Grant funding continues to be provided for licensed home child care providers who have remained active.
  • Regular funding, including fee subsidy funding, continues to be provided for home child care operators who have continued to operate and serve families.

Additional measures and support for all child care operators

  • Licensing application, renewal and revision fees will be waived during the closure period and for 60 days after the order is lifted.
  • Licenses set to expire during the closure period will be automatically extended by 6 months.
  • The requirement to provide updated vulnerable sector checks and first aid training renewals for existing child care centre staff and home child care providers and their families will be extended during the closure period.
  • To support the operational needs of licensees, the ministry will prioritize and expedite the review of requests to revise and amend licences.
  • The Wage Enhancement Grant for Licenced Home Child Care Providers will continue to be provided to eligible operators.
  • CMSM/DSSABs, and the Ministry of Education, will work together to ensure an equivalent level of support for child care and EarlyON centres operated by school boards, municipalities, hospitals and universities:
    • CMSM/DSSABs will work directly with child care and EarlyON Centres in their area.

Licensed Child Care Helpdesk

To obtain applications and for more information, contact the Ministry's Licensed Child Care Helpdesk, Monday to Friday from 8am-6pm, at:
Phone: 1-877-510-5333
Email: childcare_ontario@Ontario.ca

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