Child care is essential
The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer (OCPHO) is recommending early learning and child care programs in the NWT stay open during the COVID-19 public health emergency wherever possible.
Child care is considered an essential service and is critical for ensuring essential workers in the NWT can continue providing services to residents of the NWT throughout the COVID-19 public pandemic.
ECE will be providing support to licensed child care programs during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure programs are able to remain open and/or re-open at the earliest possible opportunity.
Financial supports for licensed programs
ECE recognizes that licensed early learning and child care programs may be significantly impacted by the evolving COVID-19 situation. In order to lessen negative impacts of the pandemic on programs, ECE is providing a number of financial supports:
Continuation of regular funding
ECE is continuing to pay Early Childhood Program (ECP) funding to licensed early learning and child care programs, regardless of whether a program remains open or closed during the pandemic. ECE also continues to pay the existing Early Childhood Staff Grant to all staff working in licensed, centre-based programs based on the previous payment amount
Healthy Children Initiative (HCI) and Supporting Child Inclusion and Participation (SCIP) funding also continues to be provided to existing recipients of both funding streams at the amount provided in the previous fiscal year.
Fixed costs subsidy for licensed programs
For licensed early learning and child care programs that have closed due to COVID-19, ECE is now providing a $1.24-million subsidy to offset fixed costs, such as rent and utilities. While we want child care programs to remain open as essential services wherever possible, this subsidy is designed to support the ability of programs to re-open when the health risks associated with COVID-19 have decreased.
33% child care subsidy for essential workers
ECE is now providing a temporary $1.9-million subsidy to licensed early learning and child care programs to lower child care costs by 33% for parents who are required to report to work, at a worksite or from home, and who need child care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This 33% subsidy goes directly to licensed early learning and child care programs. Parent fees will be reduced, per child care space, by the amount received through the subsidy. The subsidy is retroactive for April 1 to June 30, so parents who have already paid fees in April will see a reduction in fees the following months.