COVID-19 and Independent Home Daycare

Updated: March 29 2021


The Ministry of Education has published an updated version of their document: “Operational Guidance for Child Care
During COVID-19 Outbreak” Version 5 March 2021 can be found here:

Last week CCPRN sent letters to the Minister of Health, the Minister of Education, and OPH Medical Officer of Health seeking clarification and advocating for all home child care providers to have access to the COVID-19 vaccine as part of the phase 2 schedule.


Memo received from Minister Lecce, by email on March 5th 2021: Prioritization of Education and Child Care Workers – Phase Two: COVID-19 Vaccination Distribution Plan

Thank you for your continued efforts in keeping schools and child care settings open and safe.

As you are aware, the province continues to expand capacity and ramp up efforts under the phased roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. I am pleased to share the government’s announcement that the province is moving forward with Phase Two of this plan which includes education and child care workers. Phase Two, which focuses on vaccinating populations based on age and risk is expected to begin in April and be completed by the end of July.

As you know, prioritizing education and child care workers is something I have advocated for some time. Vaccine prioritization for education and child care will commence with education and child care sector workers who work directly with children in both schools and licensed child care settings. Education workers as a group includes bus drivers who transport students. It is estimated that over 300,000 education and child care workers in schools and licensed child care settings would be eligible for early vaccination under Phase Two.

Local public health units are responsible for distribution of vaccines and will provide further information on how education and child care workers can access vaccines in their communities. Ontario is working with all public health units to plan and implement mass immunization clinics across the province.

We recognize that education and child care workers have been on the front-line of this pandemic and have worked to keep our children, students and families safe and supported over a difficult time. The government recognizes the importance of vaccinations for education and child care workers to support continued health, safety and well being for staff, children and families across the province. By vaccinating education and child care workers, we are providing greater protection for the school and child care community.

Specific guidance will be forthcoming to provide additional details of workers captured in Phase Two prioritization.

Stephen Lecce





Both the Ministry of Education and Ottawa Public Health have revised their COVID-19 screening tools to reflect the new recommendations which state that children with even one symptom should stay at home (and their household contacts should too) and get tested for COVID-19.

The Provincial Tool can be found here:

The Ottawa Public Health Tool can be found here:

OPH Letter to parents explaining new screening measures and travel guidelines.



Memo from the Ministry of Education: “Ministry of Education Updates, Revised School and Child Care Screener and Updated Health and Safety Measures”  Operator Memo – Child Care Updates February 22 2021

Excerpt from today’s Memo:

The government is committed to the safety and well being of all staff, providers, children and families. Our priority continues to be keeping schools and child care open and safe. The purpose of this memo is to provide you with updated guidance for early years and child care settings that builds upon a number of public health and safety measures as outlined below, specifically:
1. The provincial school and child care screening tool
2. Isolation requirements for household members
3. Masking and other PPE requirements
4. Use of gymnasiums in schools for before and after school programs

Read the full Memo here: Operator Memo – Child Care Updates February 22 2021

Regions across the Province are returning to the Response Framework.  There are different public health and workplace safety measures for businesses and organizations depending on what region you are in.   Learn more about your region here:


New Memo from The Ministry of Education: Child Care Updates

Memo to Operators on Child Care Updates February 3 2021 (002)


Two memos from the Ministry of Education: Child Care Updates and Enhanced Health and Safety Protocols in Child Care Settings

Memo to Operators – Child Care Updates – 01 20 21

Operational Guidance Addendum – Child Care Programs – 01 20 21

The Ministry of Education has confirmed the following information (via email Jan 15th):

How does the gathering limit of 5 people apply to home child care where a providers could have up 6 children?

The rules relating to child care can be found in section 24 of Schedule 2 of O. Reg. 82/20.  The gathering limits apply to outdoor organized public events and social gatherings and not child care.

Will home child care providers be prohibited from charging parents for spaces “on hold” due to the lockdown—for example, if parents are working from home and are deciding not to bring their child to the home daycare can a provider still charge fees for the spot?  This was a huge issue last spring (O. Reg. 139/20: ORDER UNDER SUBSECTION 7.0.2 (4) OF THE ACT – CHILD CARE FEES) with lots of confusing messages.  I am hoping to be able to provide very clear and accurate information as soon as possible.

The rules relating to charging fees can be found in O. Reg. 137/15 under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014. ss. 88.7 (1) and (2) of the CCEYA prohibits providers of before and after school programs that are required to close during the current provincial shutdown from charging fees or otherwise penalizing parents during this time period (e.g., parents must not lose their respective child care spaces). In some circumstances provisions under 88.6(12) may apply, if the provider has not opened since the previous emergency declaration.



The Province of Ontario has declared another State of Emergency.  Home child care can remain open during this time.

“Child care for non-school aged children (and JK and kindergarten children not enrolled in school immediately prior to December 21, 2020) will
remain open including child care offered in licensed centres and in home-based settings (licensed and unlicensed).”

Details of the enhanced shutdown can be found here:

The Ministry of Education released a memo acknowledging the extended shutdown but did not address home child care specifically.  You can read the memo here: EYCC Memo- Child Care Update _Jan 12_2021

Conversations yesterday between Kelli Cassidy of Natural Connections Childcare and the Ministry of Education confirm the following information specific to home child care:

1- You can remain open

2- You can charge for space if parents choose not to come and that is part of your contract (i.e. sick days)

3- You can care for anyone’s children not just essential workers as taking a child to child care even if the parent works from home is permitted

4 – Providers can have 5 or 6 children (if licensed) as they are an essential service not a social gathering.

All information is subject to change.  CCPRN has requested that the Ministry of Education confirm these details as soon as possible.


Details of the Provincial lockdown can be found here:

During this time, home child care providers can care for school age children.  Here is the email response from the Ministry of Education regarding this issue:

The current closures only apply to child care centres providing child care to school-age children.  Only licensed child care centres approved as ECC sites for school-age children are permitted to provide full day care to school-age children during the provincewide shutdown.

Licensed and unlicensed home child care is not impacted by the shutdown and may continue providing service to school-aged children.  Please note, all applicable requirements under the CCEYA must be met for these types of care.

Further information on the shutdown and its impacts to child care can be found at

Updated guidance document from Toronto Public Health:

Toronto Public Health PDF Document:


Ministry of Education Operational Guidance During COVID-19 Outbreak Child Care Re-Opening Version 4 – November 2020:


From Ottawa Public Health:

Child Care Guidance

In an effort to support the Ottawa childcare sector during the pandemic, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) had been developing and updating local adaptations of the Ministry of Education’s guidance as new Provincial information/directions were released. As OPH understands that waiting for updates to local guidance can cause delays in Childcare Providers’ abilities to make the necessary modifications to their plans and protocols, the Provincial guidance will now provide the direction for Providers here in Ottawa. OPH will continue to support Providers via the OPH information line (613-580-6744) as well as the Outbreak Reporting Line if questions arise regarding case management and/or outbreaks.

OPH Screening Tool for School or Child Care:


City of Ottawa COVID-19 Guidance for Home Childcare Settings–Updated Sept. 8 2020:

Toronto Public Health Guidance for Child Care Settings–Updated Aug. 28 2020:

Ministry of Education Tip Sheet for Licensed Home Child Care–Using Medical Masks, Eye Protection and Face Coverings:

CCPRN Resuming Care & COVID-19 Best Practice Guidelines for Home Child Care–Updated Sept. 9 2020–Open as a PDF Document:

CCPRN BLOG–Keeping You Informed: COVID-19 and Service Delivery:


Ministry of Education Operational Guidance During COVID-19 Outbreak Child Care Re-Opening Version 3 – August 2020:

City of Ottawa COVID-19 Guidance for Home Childcare Settings–Updated August 13th:

CCPRN Resuming Care & COVID-19 Best Practice Guidelines for Home Child Care–Updated August 18 2020–Open as a PDF Document:


Information on accessing the Canada Emergency Response Benefit which has been extended for another 8 weeks can be found here: and here:

“Ontario has now transitioned into the recovery phase with the new Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act. While the provincial declaration of emergency has ended, the new act will provide the province with the necessary flexibility to address the ongoing risks and effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.” Read the full update and get information on emergency orders currently in effect here:

The specific emergency order relating to Child Care Fees has been revoked, effective June 12, 2020:

The Ministry of Education announced today that licensed child care will be permitted to operate at full capacity as of September 1st.  EarlyOn centres and before-and-after school care will also be permitted to re-open.

School plans for September were also announced today: of the plan can be found here:

CCPRN Resuming Care & COVID-19 Best Practice Guidelines for Home Child Care–Updated July 30 2020–Open as a PDF Document:

UPDATED June 19 2020:

The Emergency Order “Child Care Fees” has been revoked, effective June 12th 2020:

Other Emergency Orders have now been extended to June 30th 2020:

Ministry of Education: Operational Guidance During COVID-19 Outbreak Child Care Re-Opening:

Ottawa Public Health COVID-19 Guidance for Home Childcare Settings:

Santé publique Ottawa Directives pour les services de garde en milieu familial en ce qui a trait à la COVID-19:

CCPRN Resuming Care & COVID-19 Best Practice Guidelines for Home Child Care–Updated June 18 2020–Open as a PDF Document:

UPDATED June 8 2020:

Emergency Orders (including Child Care Fees) have now been extended to June 19th 2020:

CCPRN Zoom Chat “Resuming Care and COVID-19” Discussion notes from May 27th and June 3rd here: (removed).

Handsanitizer Recall:

UPDATED June 3 2020:

Province of Ontario extends State of Emergency:

Ottawa Public Health: COVID-19 Guidance for Emergency Childcare Centres Revised May 27 2020:

Weekly Zoom Chats for discussion and sharing ideas regarding home child care and COVID-19–follow us on Facebook for details.  Summary chat notes available here: (removed).

CCPRN has compiled many online resources which can be found here:

UPDATED May 27 2020:

Emergency Orders (including Child Care Fees) have now been extended to June 9th 2020:

UPDATE MAY 21 2020:

Emergency Orders (including Child Care Fees) have now been extended to May 29th 2020:

Ontario Extends School Closures–Schools remain closed for the rest of the school year:                                                                

UPDATE MAY 11 2020:

Emergency Orders (including Child Care Fees) have now been extended to May 19th 2020:

The specific Emergency Order for Child Care Fees was amended on May 8th to include the following:

No penalty, withdrawal

3. A child care provider, within the meaning of the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014, who is authorized to provide child care during the declared emergency and whose premises are open during the declared emergency shall not penalize any person who withdraws their child from the provider’s care while they are open during the emergency period.



Memo to CCPRN from the Ministry of Education re Parent Fees:

Ontario Extends School Closures:



Province of Ontario extends State of Emergency:

Emergency Measures and Civil Protection Act including new regulations and emergency orders:

Ottawa Public Health guidelines for child care centres supporting essential workers.  Although geared towards centre-based care, many best practices can be adopted and/or amended for home-based care.



Information for independent home child care providers from Ottawa Public Health.


An interview this morning with two home child care providers answering if they are open or closed, how they made their decision, and more.


News release
March 25, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Finance Canada

Government introduces Canada Emergency Response Benefit to help workers and businesses

To support workers and help businesses keep their employees, the government has proposed legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the full news release here:


Breaking News:

“Premier Doug Ford is ordering the mandatory closure of all “non-essential workplaces” effective Tuesday, March 24, 11:59 p.m.

“The next 36 hours will give non-essential businesses the chance to adapt and prepare,” he said.

The province will release a list of businesses tomorrow that are permitted to stay open.

The order will last for 14 days.”

Read more here:


Eastern Ontario Health Unit orders salons, daycares and churches to close due to COVID-19

“All daycares and other childcare centres and services (those that were not previously included in the provincial closure order)…

The order covers all the communities in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit’s area, including Cornwall, Casselman, Winchester, Alexandria, Hawkesbury, Rockland and Prescott-Russell.”

We have yet to see a similar order for Ottawa.


Please see the following update from Ottawa Public Health (March 16th at 6pm) highlighting recommendations from Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health for the Ministry of Health– including the recommendation that all licensed home childcare close temporarilyRead the update here.

Best Practice would dictate that yes, if the recommendation is for licensed home childcare to close, then independent home childcare should consider following this recommendation too.  Ultimately, however, it is still up to each provider to make the best decision that they can.


Ontario Providers: Are you wondering whether or not to keep your home daycare open?

As an independent business owner you make your own policies and contract etc. based on Best Practice. While the conditions keep changing, at this time we believe that these are the best steps for the upcoming week:

  1. Review your health/sickness policies and your contract.
  2. Review and ensure each child’s emergency contacts are up to date and that someone will be available to pickup a child immediately (~30 min) should the child develop symptoms while in care.
  3. Follow the guidelines from Public Health – do extra cleaning and more rigid screening of adults and children. You may want to send your daycare parents an email over the week end that states something like this:
    **As per Public Health guidelines please do not attend my daycare if:
    • You are displaying cold/flu/COVID-19 symptoms
    • You have travelled outside of Canada within the last two weeks
    • A member of your household has travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days, is flu, cold or COVID-19 symptomatic or has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  4. Keep up to date with your local Public Health Unit recommendations and forward any important updates to your daycare families:


Ottawa residents:

Not in Ottawa? Find your local Public Health Unit here:

With a small number of daycare families the screening process listed above should be able to guide you in your decisions.

It is certainly a time for prudence, compassion and open discussion. Encourage your families to limit public outings as you yourself plan to – in order to keep everyone safe. If possible, have hand sanitizer at your entrance and encourage use by those entering.

In terms of government funding, should you decide you have to close, that is an unknown at this time.

CCPRN will keep you posted with any updates we hear about and we encourage you to support each other by sharing your creative art and other activities on our Facebook page. As always, “Sharing in the Caring” is the way to go!