The province of Manitoba is launching an online portal Friday that will allow essential services workers in need of child care during the coronavirus pandemic to see where spaces are available, Families Minister Heather Stefanson announced Thursday.
The portal will be accessible through the province’s COVID-19 website.
A week ago, Stefanson asked licensed child care facilities to reopen, in order to help health-care workers, grocery store employees, farm and construction workers, bank employees and other critical services workers, as defined by Manitoba’s chief public health officer.
Those workers are supposed to have access to child care services next Tuesday, after the Easter long weekend.
“Child-care centres and homes that are opening their doors to children and their families during this challenging time are truly heroes helping heroes,” said Stefanson.
“We continue to call on child-care facilities and early childhood educators to be part of our province-wide response to COVID-19. Together, we can ensure children can continue to learn and grow in a safe, caring environment as their parents go to work helping those most affected by COVID-19.”
The Manitoba government closed most licensed daycares on March 20 as part of efforts to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, but also told many of those centres to be prepared to reopen for the children of essential health-care employees.
Some Manitoba health-care workers told CBC News last month that they wanted to work but were waiting for child care.
As of Thursday, more than 1,900 children of health-care and other emergency services workers have been matched with a licensed child care facility, the province said.
The Department of Families said it will continue to match parents on the wait-list to available spaces over the next several days.
When asked by reporters Thursday how many people are still waiting to be matched with spots, Stefanson said she did not have a number on hand.
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