Dear WRDSB families,

On Monday, January 3, 2022, the Province announced that elementary schools will shift to remote learning on January 5th for approximately two weeks. During this time, all before and after school programs will be closed.

In support of health care and other frontline workers whose children are in school, a limited number of spaces will be available for Emergency Child Care (ECC) in Waterloo Region. The Ministry of Education will provide funding for these spaces which will be available at no cost to eligible parents, starting January 10th, 2022.

Emergency Child Care spaces across the region are very limited due to the impacts of COVID-19 and labour force shortages of child care staff. It is anticipated that the need for ECC will exceed the available capacity. The Region of Waterloo Children’s Services will be prioritizing applications and managing a waiting list. To ensure that critical human services remain available, the Region will prioritize care for children whose parent(s)/guardian(s) are required to work outside of the home and are included in the following prioritized list of workers:

  • frontline health care workers providing in person care (including hospital and acute care staff, medical first responders, pharmacists and pharmacy assistants and community health care workers),
  • frontline police and fire personnel,
  • long term care home employees,
  • individuals working in a homeless shelter or providing services to people experiencing homelessness,
  • frontline workers in congregate care settings,
  • persons working in correctional institutions, and
  • workers essential to frontline child care and education.

If all parents/guardians in the household are required to work outside of the home and one (or more) parent/guardian is part of the prioritized list of workers, you can begin the application process for Emergency Child Care by completing the online application form. Please do not contact the child care provider directly or apply through OneList.

Emergency Child Care operators follow the health and safety guidelines provided by both the Ministry of Education and our local Public Health. However, even with these strict processes in place there may be disruptions to service due to the illness of students attending or the staff providing the care. We encourage all applicants to have a back up plan in the event we have a waitlist for ECC and/or there is an unplanned disruption to service.

If you are unable to go to work because you are unable to access child care you may be eligible for financial support through the Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit or other federal benefits.

For more information regarding ECC, please go to the Region’s Emergency Child Care webpage. You can also email

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