Province to care for children of essential service workers

Aidan Doherty / April 12th 2020
Essential service workers are working hard to combat COVID-19 and school districts around Vancouver will start doing their part to provide care to children of essential workers.
Centres in Vancouver will be providing day care for children of essential workers ages five through twelve. the centres will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday to Friday
Mandi Sinclair, a receptionist and day care coordinator for a school on the north shore says she is more than happy to assist essential service workers.
“I’m happy to help out if I can for the essential workers… our jobs have changed so much as it is that adding this little extra work is totally doable at this point.”
Three schools including, Elsie Roy Elementary, Lord Roberts Annex and Lord Nelson Elementary were chosen to reopen for their proximity to major hospitals as well as location of families requesting care.
The province, along with Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, have defined essential services as jobs British Columbians rely on in their daily lives in the context of COVID-19 response and recovery.
The BC ministry of Education categorized ESWs into two tiers. The first tier for Health and Health Services, Social Services, Law Enforcement, First Responders and Emergency responders. The second tier is for other crucial roles defined as essential such as retail workers, service providers, and food processing workers.
Childcare providers and schools providing care for children are to prioritize placements for those children whose parents are working as tier 1 ESWs
CUPE, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, represents most of the support workers, including educational assistants, youth and child-care workers, who are staffing the facilities aimed at helping essential services keep running in B.C. during the COVID-19 crisis.
The union says that workers who do not wish to participate in child-care will not face being laid off by employers, and that wages have been guaranteed till April 30th.
The provision of childcare for essential services workers was announced back on March 17th when Rob Fleming, Minister of Education, suspended classes due to the spread of COVID 19.

Entrance to Hollyburn Elementary. Opened as an ESW School on April 6th.
Aidan Doherty / BCIT News

Back entrance to Cypress Park Primary School, a centre providing child care for essential service workers.
Aidan Doherty / BCIT News