Enrollment in recently reopened child care centres is often not meeting the threshold necessary for operations to be financially viable. As a result, there are reports of workers being laid off, and within the sector there are grave concerns that some of the centres will not be around come fall. That would be disastrous for an already fragile sector and the working parents who rely on its services.

“We were short-staffed to begin with. Now it is a disaster,” says a Halifax long term care worker employed at three separate group homes, reflecting on the first COVID-19 wave. “Of course, when someone feels sick, it is important that they stay home. But nobody is there to replace them. The care responsibilities are falling on fewer and fewer of us. Everyone calls us heroes, but we don’t have a choice. This is our job.”

Danny Cavanagh: Our message to low wage employers is workers are understandably reluctant to accept the health risks of serving customers and possibly bringing COVID-19 home to their family. The safety for them and their family far outweighs working at a low wage job for a few hours a week on erratic scheduling, for minimum wage or a few pennies more.