Country-wide, many ECEs and child care workers have been forced to work in unsafe conditions. Even with the release of the COVID-19 vaccine and booster doses, children under five years of age cannot be vaccinated, leaving ECEs and child care workers working in classrooms that are entirely unvaccinated. In many classrooms, particularly where infants and toddlers are cared for, children cannot or are unable to wear masks or social distance. This is then compounded by the fact that workers often do not have health benefits themselves, so if they become sick, they face the brunt of this alone. Furthermore, the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that would reduce the chances of educators becoming sick has not been adequately provided to workers or the centres in which they work in many jurisdictions. Some municipalities, such as Toronto, have stepped in to provide PPE for child care centres and their workers. This, however, is not something that all municipalities have the capacity to offer, particularly in more rural and remote areas where there is less funding and few staff. The fact remains that many educators report having to reuse masks that are meant to be disposable, having no access to COVID-19 testing, and having no priority for vaccines or booster doses.
A brief outline and charts of each province or territory’s COVID-19 provisions for child care centres can be found on CCN's website.