In a press conference this afternoon (april 24th) NWT Minister of Finance and Minister of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) announced $5.106 million to support parents providing essential services during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
R.J. Simpson says this funding will be immediately provided in the form of four temporary child care initiatives that will lessen the financial impacts on licensed family day homes and centre-based child care programs.
- A $1.9-million subsidy to lower child care costs by 33% for parents who are required to physically attend work and who need child care during COVID-19.
- A $1,000 per month wage top-up for child care staff, to ensure both licensed family day homes and centre-based early learning and child care programs are adequately resourced to provide child care services, especially during non-regular hours, for a total value of $1.3 million.
- $665,000 in additional resources to ensure licensed child care programs receive adequate support for supplies and labour to carry out enhanced cleaning regimens at child care centres, and to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff and clients.
- A $1.24-million subsidy to offset a portion of the fixed costs, such as rent and utilities, for licensed early learning and child care programs that have closed due to COVID-19.
- While ideally child care programs will remain open as essential services wherever possible, this subsidy is designed to support the ability of programs to reopen when the health risks associated with COVID-19 have decreased.
Priorities will be given to health and allied healthcare workers, as well as any parents required to physically attend a worksite during the pandemic.
Simpson also announced ECE now provides a one-stop registration process for NTHSSA employees to find available child care spots.
Simpson explained how the child care programs are different from JK-12 schools.
He says many early learning and child care programs have fewer children than JK-12 classes.
And that a significant factor in the recommendation to cancel JK-12 school classes was the fact that many school staff were on holiday and out of the territory during March break.
Today’s funding brings the total amount of GNWT financial support to a total of $26.565 million.