The message below was received from the City of Ottawa March 21, 2020. Please note that this information is subject to change as the pandemic unfolds.
Children’s Services understands that child care and early years service providers will continue to have many questions about funding as a result of the impacts of COVID-19 in Ottawa. We continue to review all funding related questions and the provincial guidelines to determine what supports can be provided to families, children and service providers. Should you have questions about this document, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and include your Child Care Program Development Specialist on the email.
Child Care Service Providers and EarlyON Child and Family Centres:
- Will Children’s Services continue to provide the quarterly funding allocations to service providers?
Yes, Children’s Service will continue to provide the quarterly funding allocation as per the contribution agreements for the following, as applicable to service providers:
- Child Care Funding (General Operating, Municipal Health and Safety)
- EarlyON Child and Family Centres Funding
- Provincial Wage Enhancement/Home Child Care Enhancement Funding
- Ontario Works Informal and Special Needs Resource Funding
- Planning and Data Analysis Funding
Children’s Services is seeking additional clarity from the Province on how the Ontario – 2020 Child Care and EarlyON Child and Family Centres Service Management and Funding Guideline can be clarified / adapted to help support families and providers. As more information becomes available, we will communicate directly with service providers by email.
- Is Children’s Services considering additional financial supports for service providers?
Providers are strongly encouraged to contact their insurance provider to understand if they have coverage for either Business Interruption Insurance and/or Business Continuity under their policy to compensate for revenue lost during the closure period. All providers are encouraged to explore stimulus funding available through the Federal and Provincial Governments.
Additionally, Children’s Services is in consultation with the Ministry of Education regarding additional financial supports / flexibility and as more information becomes available, we will communicate directly with service providers by email.
- Will Children’s Services provide the quarterly funding allocations sooner?
Yes, Children’s Services will issue the second quarter funding payments in early April in an effort to help service providers manage their cashflow.
- Is Children’s Services considering an extension to current City of Ottawa deadlines for Child Care and EarlyON Child and Family Centres?
Yes, all City of Ottawa deadlines for Child Care and EarlyON Child and Family Centres are being extended by Children’s Services. Service providers can continue to work toward the original deadlines, where possible. As more information becomes available, we will communicate directly with service providers by email.
- What advice can Children’s Services provide service providers around termination notices, staffing, insurance and legal related matters?
The City of Ottawa as the Service System Manager is not in a position to advise you on how to proceed with staffing questions or questions related to insurance or legal matters. As an employer, you should consult with a lawyer if you are not certain what steps to take in terms of managing staff.
Children’s Services is in consultation with the Ministry of Education regarding additional clarity on their guidelines in relation to costs incurred during the closure period and additional financial supports / flexibility. As more information becomes available, we will communicate directly with service providers by email.
- Can child care service providers charge full fee paying families during the closure period?
The decision to charge families during the closure period is up to the individual service providers. The City of Ottawa, as the Service System Manager, does not have an ability to determine fees nor fee policy for child care programs. Providers are encouraged to communicate to parents their decisions and to support families during this difficult situation.
- Can Children’s Services provide additional details about the Ministry of Education’s decision to allow home child care providers to continue offering services?
On March 17, 2020, Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency and ordered the closure of all licensed child care centres, and all facilities providing indoor recreational programs including EarlyON Child and Family Centres. The orders will remain in place until March 31, 2020, at which point they will be reassessed and considered for extension, unless this order is terminated earlier. This order does not apply to child care providers overseen by licensed agencies or unlicensed home child care providers.
It is up to individual licensed home child care provider to decide as to whether they will continue to operate; and as independent contractors, home child care providers can decide if they will continue to provide services to families.
Ottawa Public Health is recommending that, where possible, a parent, guardian or caregiver stay at home with their children. Any home child care provider that remains open is asked to follow the guidance for child care settings that was previously provided by Ottawa Public Health.
EarlyON Child and Family Centres (Community-Based EarlyON Capital Funding):
- Will the Ministry of Education’s deadline of March 31, 2020 for Community-Based EarlyON Capital Funding be extended?
Children’s Services is in consultation with the Ministry of Education regarding an extension to the current Community-Based EarlyON Capital Funding provincial spending deadline of March 31, 2020. As more information becomes available , we will communicate directly with service provides by email
- Is Children’s Services considering an extension to the current City of Ottawa initiated Community-Based EarlyON Capital Funding attestation due date of April 30, 2020?
Yes, Children’s Services is considering an extension to the current City of Ottawa initiated Community-Based EarlyON Capital Program Funding attestation due date of April 30, 2020.
Child Care Fee Subsidy and Financial Service Unit:
- Will payments for fee subsidy continue during the closure period?
Yes, service providers with a contribution agreement for fee subsidy will continue to receive their payments for the closure dates related to COVID-19 for March 2020, once attendance is completed. If the legislated closure period is extended beyond March 31st, Children’s Services will reassess this decision and communicate updated information to service providers. To ensure prudent use of tax dollars, Children’s Services will consider multiple factors (e.g., parent fees charged, staff payments, insurance, Provincial / Federal Supports, Provincial Guideline changes / direction etc.) during the closure period to inform decisions.
When submitting the March 2020 attendance, agencies should code the child’s scheduled calendar with “O” for all closure dates due to COVID-19.
- Are licensed not-for-profit child care service providers required to provide attendance reporting for March 2020?
Yes, the City of Ottawa requires the attendance reporting to provide the March fee subsidy payments to child care service providers. To ensure payments can be made promptly, the attendance is due as per existing deadlines. For closure days due to COVID-19, indicate “O” for other.
- Will absent days incurred by families in receipt of fee subsidy during the closure period count towards the maximum number of allowable Paid Days Away?
No, paid days away for families in receipt of fee subsidy will not be impacted as a result of the closures. By using the code “O” for the closure days, Paid Days Away will not be affected.
- Are families expected to pay their parental contribution fees even if child care services are not available and will they be reimbursed?
As per provincial guidelines, families are responsible for the full fee cost of their child care service providers’ operational days, up to the maximum of their approved subsidy fee. Children’s Services is seeking additional clarity from the Province to see if any additional flexibility / support can be provided to families in receipt of a fee subsidy.
For example: If the daily full fee cost of care is $50 and the child care service provider provided child care services for 10 days in March, the total full fee costs is $500. Parental contributions first go towards offsetting the full cost of child care. If a parental monthly contribution is calculated at $600, an account credit of $100 would be issued.
The Financial Services Unit will be issuing account credits to eligible families as a result of services not being available. Families who have a credit balance on their account will be reimbursed using the same method of payment used to make the original payment. All reimbursements are being prioritized and will be completed as quickly as possible. In addition, preauthorized bank and credit card payments for April 1, 2020 have been temporarily suspended to help support families and will be reassessed as this situation continues to evolve.