Applications Open for City of Toronto Free Emergency Child Care for Essential and Core Service Workers

The City of Toronto is opening free emergency 24/7 licenced child care for essential workers who are keeping us healthy and safe, and do not have the option to stay home. This is a brand new service in Toronto and we will be the first to open emergency child care in Ontario.

As a City we are doing everything we can to support the workers providing essential and critical services who are keeping us healthy and safe. We owe our deepest thanks and ongoing support to all those on the frontlines.

This new service will be provided free of cost to parents. The child care facilities will operate around the clock, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, to support parents on shift work. The service will be available for children from infants to age 12. 

Eligibility criteria are established by the Province of Ontario. This list of eligible workers may change as the emergency evolves and will be updated as required. For a detailed description of eligibility, please visit

Anyone who wishes to access emergency child care services can complete the online application to apply. After an application is approved, registration will be confirmed if space is available. Space is limited, but we are ready to scale up service to respond to demand.

If the level of demand exceeds capacity, initial priority will be given to front-line health care workers (including Toronto Public Health and City of Toronto Long-Term Care) and first responders.

Additional measures will be used, in consultation with Toronto Public Health and the City's Occupational Health and Safety program, to maintain a healthy and safe environment including daily screening of children and staff, increased disinfection, reduced group sizes and limiting the number of people in the centre to 50.

At the City of Toronto we have been working around the clock to get this service up and running, in partnership with the Province of Ontario. Childcare will be provided in existing municipal facilities by City child care workers. The Province is covering the cost to parents.

In the midst of this pandemic, a rapid emergency response is necessary. It is also a chance to think about what supports should be in place after the crisis has passed. If we can provide free 24/7 childcare now, we should be inspired and committed to providing it to everyone, always.

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