Your Childcare Questions During COVID-19, Answered

The exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak have been creating many childcare difficulties for UFCW 1518 members. As March break comes to an end and as daycares close, some members may not be able to work, or may need to restrict their work hours to stay home with children. Here are some important facts and resources on how to manage childcare-related issues during this challenging time:

I still need to go to work during COVID-19, but my school-aged child needs care now that schools have suspended operations, what should I do?

Request a family status accommodation. If you know the specific hours you will be available for work, give that schedule to your manager. If your manager will not schedule you within that availability, contact your shop steward. If the shop steward cannot resolve this, have them contact your union representative.

The BC Government has created a matching program that will place the children of essential workers with community child care. Grocery workers, pharmacy workers, industrial food processors, and home care workers qualify for this program, but priority will go to health care workers. Children can be up to five years old. You may be eligible for the Affordable Child Care Benefit. To apply for the child care matching program, go to the online portal. For more information about available child care in Vancouver, Click here.

If you are taking a leave of absence to care for your child, you are entitled to income supports.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is available for working parents who must stay home without pay to care for sick children, sick elderly people, or children who are at home due to school closures.

  • The amount will be up to $2,000/month for 4 months
  • There will be an online application portal that will be available by April 6
  • The money should be available approximately 10 days after the application is filed
  • If you have already applied for EI but have not yet received funds, your application will automatically be transferred to a CERB application. You do not need to reapply
  • Click here for more information

The BC Emergency Benefit for Workers is a one-time $1,000 payment to people who have lost income because of COVID-19. Anyone eligible for federal EI or CERB will qualify. For more information, click here.

Other financial benefits available for families:

  • The Canada Childcare Benefit (CCB) will be going up by $300 per child. You do not need to reapply if you have applied in the past, but you must have filed a tax return for 2018.
  • If you have not applied for the CCB before, you can apply here
If you are taking a leave of absence to care for your child, your job will be protected.

The provincial government has amended the Employment Standards Act, ensuring that workers can take unpaid, job-protected leave if they need to provide care to their minor child, a dependent adult who is their child, or a former foster child for reasons related to COVID-19. This includes school and daycare closures because of COVID-19. You can read more about the new job-protected leave here.

Take Action

We are pressuring the government to grant critical grocery workers, pharmacy assistants and technicians, industrial food processors, and home care workers the same childcare supports that essential workers receive. Join us by sending a letter to the government.

Stay Posted

We have reached out to major employers to request more information on any accommodations for members who may not be able to work due to the lack of childcare. We will keep you up-to-date as we know more.

If you have specific childcare-related questions, please reach out to us at

UFCW 1518 fights for fairness for our members. Click here for information about joining a union, or you can connect with an organizer to learn more.