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Children and Community Services FAQ - Child Care Fee Subsidy August 2020

If I choose to access licensed child care for my kindergarten aged child rather than a publicly funded school during the school year, will I remain eligible for fee subsidy?

Here are some scenarios to guide you:

  • A child who is eligible to enter Kindergarten in a publicly funded school is no longer eligible for full-day child care fee subsidy in a licensed child care program, effective the first eligible day of Kindergarten, aside from non-instructional days (e.g. PA Days, School Holidays).
  • A child who attends Kindergarten in a publicly funded school may continue to be eligible for fee subsidy in a program that is specifically licensed for before and after school care, if all other eligibility requirements are met.   
  • A child whose family has opted out of publicly funded school for a Kindergarten–aged child this fall, and chooses instead to access a Kindergarten program in a licensed child care setting, is not eligible for financial support during what would be considered the school day. However, if the family requires an extended day of care, i.e. before and after the Kindergarten program hours in the licensed child care setting, they will be able to access fee subsidy if eligible, to cover the cost of before/after care. The parent/guardian remains responsible for the parent rate associated with the before/after care as well as the full cost of care associated with the “School Day" period.

This exception has been made in an effort to support families and operators for an unspecified period of time, as a result of the uncertain nature of this pandemic. Ten days notice will be provided to eligible families/Operators, should the need arise to discontinue this exception and return to the current practise of only subsidizing before/after school care for children who physically attend school.

Please contact your Child Care Representative to discuss your specific options.

What if I choose not to send my child to JK/ SK due to fear of COVID-19?
The Ministry of Education has announced that the return back to school for full day kindergarten begins September 8, 2020. As such, we will not cover the cost of full day child care for children who are eligible for Kindergarten.

Will my subsidy file close if I do not send my child back right away in September?
If you choose not to resume care, your fee subsidy file will close. The Ministry of Education guidelines may affect this direction when they release revised guidelines. We are working with the Province to establish a timeline for when client files will close if they are choosing not to send their child back to child care due to COVID-19. Correspondence will be sent out advising clients of this period.    

My child's licensed child care program is not open and I know the date that I require child care, what should I do?
Maintain regular contact with the child care program for updates on their reopening.  For more information on alternate child care availability, you may choose to contact your Child Care Representative. 

Is my child's licensed child care program required to hold my child's spot?
Effective September 1, 2020 child care operators will be permitted to charge parent fees to hold spaces in licensed child care programs. 

What health and safety measures is my child's licensed child care program implementing?
Enhanced health and safety requirements are mandated in all licensed child care operations as set out by the Ministry of Education and Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. 

Click here to view Ministry of Education Operational Guidelines.

Click here to view Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Guidelines. 

How do I have my child's fee subsidy reinstated at their licensed child care centre once it reopens?
After confirming a child care placement with the child care operator, you are required to contact your Child Care Representative for subsidy approval.

Will extra absent/sick days be approved if my child has to self-isolate for 14 days?
Yes, additional absent days will be granted if self-isolation needs to occur per local Heath Unit protocols regarding self-isolation. Please speak to your Child Care Representative concerning your situation.  

How long will you hold my child care fee subsidy file if my employer still has not called me back to work, or if we decide to wait for a vaccine before sending our child(ren) back to care?
Parents/Guardians will be given 14 days' notice to confirm their child care space(s) with their Operator. If you are unable to/choose not to confirm your space in this period, your fee subsidy file will close. Unfortunately due to the uncertainly of when a vaccine will be made available, we will not be able to hold a clients file indefinitely. Please contact your Child Care Representative to discuss your situation.   

Will you take into account my decrease in income?
Yes, if your income for the current year has decreased by 20% or more from your previous year's Notice of Assessment, you may be eligible for a reduced daily parental contribution. Please speak to your Child Care Representative.  

If the child care centre will only accept a full time space and I have joint custody is there an allowance for that?
We will subsidize days based on the primary applicant's work/school schedule and court order/written custody arrangements.

Will subsidy cover my child if Junior Kindergarten is cancelled?
The Ministry of Education has announced that full time kindergarten will commence on September 8, 2020.

The Premier said my spot would be guaranteed but now I am hearing centres will not take part time children, why?
The Ministry of Education announced that, effective September 1, 2020, all child care centres can reopen at full capacity. Child care operators will reach out to families to offer your pre-COVID space to you. If you choose not to accept this space within 14 days, the Operator is then permitted to offer the space to the next family on their waitlist. We recommend that you speak with your child care centre for further information.  

I have secured space for one of my children but am only eligible for subsidy when both are in care; how long can you keep my file open?
Subsidy eligibility and daily parent rate is determined by assessing your household income.  If your parent rate is greater than the cost of one child attending child care, then you do not qualify for fee subsidy and typically the file would be closed. Due to COVID-19, we have made an exception to this policy – your file will remain active for a specific period in order that you may secure care for the second child. You will receive correspondence from a Child Care Representative to confirm when this time frame will end.