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Today, the Honourable Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, announced the government's plan to offer parents up to $60 per day if strike actions close schools or school-based child care centres.

"Our aim has always been to reach a negotiated settlement that keeps kids in class, which we have done successfully with multiple labour partners to date," said Minister Lecce.

Green Party leader Mike Schreiner responded that "This cash-back program provides some financial relief to families, but it is a distraction from the heart of this dispute, the reckless cuts to education."

He went on to say that the Minister was trying to "change the channel" after leaked documents revealed a plan to replace in-class instruction with full-time e-learning. What’s most important to parents, he said, is the quality of their kids’ education, and "I think they will see through this ploy to pit them against teachers."

"The Minister’s priority should be to reach a fair deal with education workers at the negotiating table rather than driving a wedge between parents and teachers.”

A full withdrawal of services could require parents to make alternative arrangements, Minister Lecce said, and a strike could also impact the operation of full-day child care centres located in schools.

Financial support will be provided to parents for each day of school that a child misses on account of a labour disruption, or each day of child care that is not available if offered from a closed school.

Eligible parents of children up to age 12 (Grade 7), or up to age 21 for children and youth with special needs, in a publicly funded school, qualify for:

$60 per day for children aged 0-6 who are not yet enrolled in school but attend a school-based child care centre that is required to close on account of the strike.
$40 per day for students in Junior Kindergarten (JK) and Senior Kindergarten (SK).
$25 per day for students in Grades 1 up to and including Grade 7.
$40 total per day for students in JK up to and including Grade 12 with a special need(s).
Funding will also be retroactive for qualifying parents to cover costs already incurred due to labour disruptions that have occurred during the current 2019-20 labour negotiations.

More details about this financial support can be found by visiting www.Ontario.ca/SupportForParents or by calling the Support for Parents Helpline at 888-444-3770.

QUICK FACTS
During a strike, licensed child care programs, including before- and after-school programs, will be allowed to extend their hours, request temporary relocation to avoid labour disruptions and request an increase to the number of children they are licensed to support.
The province also intends to allow day camps to open to school-aged students without it counting against their 13-week per-year operating limit.
The ministry is also considering other ways to support students with special needs during any strike action by teacher federations and/or education worker unions.
Parents can use the licensed child care finder to contact local operators about available licensed programs in their area.

source: media releases, Ministry of Education; Green Party Leader's office

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