How do I find child care in Ontario?

Child care services in Ontario are in high demand and have long waiting lists. You may not get a spot right away. It is important to plan ahead if you need child care.

To find child care you can:

Ask the Right Questions

When you contact child care providers it is important to ask a lot of questions. This will help you determine whether they are right for you and your child. Some important questions to ask include:

  • What training and/or experience does the caregiver(s) have?
  • Do they have staff with CPR and First Aid certifications on site?
  • What are drop off and pick up times? Are they flexible?
  • What type of routines, activities and teaching aids are there?
  • What kinds of meals and snacks do you provide?
  • How many children are in a group and what are their ages?
  • What are the costs? Are there subsidized spots available?
  • Are you licenced?

You can find a list of suggested questions by the Ministry of Education, it is available in many languages.

If you like the way your questions were answered you should visit the centre or caregiver in person. While you are there, speak to the supervisor and observe the children, staff and physical setting. It is important to visit several different places. This will allow you to compare their facilities and to make a well-informed decision.

Do I need to provide childcare for my older children?

The Child and Family Services Act  does not identify an age when a child can be left alone, or an age at which a child can supervise or babysit other children. However, the Criminal Code of Canada includes the offence of abandoning a child. You may be charged if you abandon or endanger a child who is under the age of 10.

It is a good idea to ask a responsible family member or friend to look after your children when you are not home.

For More Information

  • Search for Licensed Child Care - A directory of licensed child care in Ontario. From the Ministry of Education.
  • Ontario Early Years Centres - These centres offer free programs and activities for children up to the age of 6 and their parents and caregivers.
  • Introducing Your Child to Child Care - A fact sheet providing tips on how to help your child adjust to child care. From the Ministry of Community, Family and Children's Services.
  • Supervision Guidelines - This page contains information about leaving your child home alone and if your child is old enough to baby site. From Durham Children’s Aid Society.
Last updated: August 18, 2016 4006026