Emergency childcare services for Ontario’s front-line and essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic will now be available for Vermilion Bay and Sioux Lookout families.

After the provincial announcement that students will continue learning virtually and service providers would be offering free emergency childcare to essential staff on April 19, the Kenora District Services Board was able to reopen some childcare programming in Kenora, Dryden and Red Lake.

Now, after working alongside community partners, the KDSB says they’ll be offering the service at Sioux Lookout’s Biidaaban Children’s Centre and the Vermilion Bay & Area Nursery School Cooperative.

Parents are asked to not contact these centres and to visit kdsb.on.ca to download the fillable form. Once submitted, they will be contacted by the operator in their community if there is space available.

Those who are eligible include:

- Healthcare workers including but not limited to doctors, nurses, healthcare providers and those who work in long-term care and retirement homes, as well as those who distribute or manufacture medical or pharmaceutical supplies.

- Individuals performing work in relation to the administration, distribution or manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines.

- Childcare workers, including those staffing the emergency childcare programs.

- Grocery store and pharmacy workers.

- Education staff who are required to attend schools to provide in-person instruction or to support students with special education needs who can’t be accommodated remotely.

- Public safety such as police, fire, paramedics, provincial enforcement, justice, court and correctional system workers.

- Frontline staff in children’s aid societies and residential services.

- Individuals working in developmental services, violence against women services, victims services, anti-human trafficking, and interpreters for those who are deaf or blind.

- Individuals working in a homeless shelter or providing services to homeless persons.

- Food safety inspectors and individuals working in the processing, manufacturing or distribution of food and beverages.

- OPS staff employed in Radiation Protection Services.

- OPS staff performing critical tasks related to environmental monitoring, reporting and laboratory services.

- Certain federal employees including RCMP, Canada Border Services, Canadian Armed Forces, Canada Post.

- Non-municipal water and wastewater workers.

- Power workers.

- Workers involved in the collecting, storing, transporting, processing, disposing or recycling of any type of waste.

- Employees of a hotel or motel that is acting as an isolation centre, healthcare centre, vaccine clinic or housing essential workers.

- Truck drivers and transit workers.

- Construction workers.

All families are asked to screen their child for COVID-19 symptoms before attending childcare, practice social distancing, provide a face covering for your child, and avoid the sharing of objects and toys.

The Open Roads Early Learning Centre in Dryden, the FIREFLY Child Care Centre in King George and Kids’ Zone at SMB in Kenora, and Red Lake’s Early Learning Centre are also currently offering free childcare services.