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Temporary emergency childcare referral system for essential workers launches

Thank you to the provincial government for taking the steps to ensure parents who must work during the COVID-19 pandemic continue to have access to childcare with new funding to providers.

Sadhu Johnston, City Manager

March 27 2020 –

Today, the City of Vancouver launched Temporary Emergency Childcare for Essential Workers in response to COVID-19. The referral system will connect Essential Service Workers meeting the program’s criteria, with licensed childcare providers that are open and available for childcare during this public health crisis. 

The number of spaces made available for emergency childcare will be at the discretion of each operator, within their licensed capacity and under health protocols. Receiving a referral does not guarantee a spot.

Eligibility

The Westcoast Child Care Resource Centre (WCCRC) will give parents and guardians a referral to temporary childcare for children ages 0 to 12 years (including those with special needs) if they:

  • Are providing essential services, as defined by the Province
  • Live or work in Vancouver
  • Have no appropriate childcare alternatives  

In alignment with the Province, priority will be given to those children whose parents or guardians are employed as front-line workers in public health and health services, social services, law enforcement, first responders, and emergency response. 

How to access referral system for essential workers 

Parents or guardians of children ages 0-12 who are eligible, should submit the Westcoast Child Care Resource Centre (WCCRC) online request form .

Parents or guardians will then receive an email from WCCRC with a list of operators to contact.

Program capacity

The number of spaces made available for emergency childcare will be at the discretion of each operator, within their licensed capacity and under health protocols. 

Hours of operation

Hours of operation vary by operator. Many are open Monday to Friday, approximately 7:30am to  6pm. Some may offer extended and weekend hours.  

Fees

To be paid to the operator directly, at a rate defined by the operator. The WCCRC can help families in need of financial support to access BC’s Affordable Child Care Benefit, if needed.

Timing

The Temporary Emergency Childcare for Essential Workers initiative will be in place as long as the Provincial Health Officer is advising that all parents who can, should care for their children at home, and that childcare services can and must be provided for those families whose parents work in critical roles.  

Health and safety

Childcare operators have been adjusting the way they operate in response to COVID-19 and will continue to do so with the guidance of the Provincial Health Officer and support from the licensing team at Vancouver Coastal Health.

Quotes

Sadhu Johnston, City Manager

“Thank you to the provincial government for taking the steps to ensure parents who must work during the COVID-19 pandemic continue to have access to childcare with new funding to providers,” said Sadhu Johnston, City Manager for City of Vancouver. “I would also like to extend my thanks to everyone on the task force, including individuals from City of Vancouver the Vancouver School Board, Vancouver Park Board, Westcoast Child Care Resource Centre, and Vancouver Coastal Health for coming together to launch this important initiative."

Sandra Singh, General Manager of Arts, Culture, and Community Services

“While the Provincial Health Officer has advised that families should keep children home if possible, we understood there was a need to connect essential workers required on the front lines of the COVID-19 response with access to temporary childcare,” said Sandra Singh, General Manager of Arts, Culture, and Community Services at City of Vancouver. “Our goal with this initiative is to help facilitate childcare to those who need it most during the public health emergency.”