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Child Care Information for Parents

There are licensed, formal and unlicensed, informal child care options in York Region available for families.

Licensed Child Care Options

Home-Based Child Care

Home child care agencies recruit, screen, approve and supervise individuals who provide child care in their own homes for children from infancy to 12 years of age. It is the agency that is licensed and responsible for ensuring each home meets the standards of the Child Care and Early Years Act. The Child Care and Early Years Act is the current statute governing child care in Ontario. Enacted in 1946, it is a law that governs the operation of day nurseries in Ontario, Canada. Nurseries in Ontario that have more than five children under age 10, must obtain a licence from the Ministry of Education.

In a licensed home-based agency:

  • The number and ages of children in care are regulated
  • Hours of care are usually flexible
  • Homes are visited regularly and are subject to spot checks
  • Financial assistance may be available to families who qualify
  • Tax receipts are provided

Full-Day Child Care Centres

Child care centres provide full-day child care, usually for 12 months of the year. Some centres also offer part-time care, nursery school programs, temporary care services, as well as school-age or day camp programs. These centres must be licensed, whether they are operated by a private corporation or a non-profit, incorporated board of directors.

Parents seeking care for infants and toddlers in a child care centre should be prepared to pay more than they pay for a preschool child because more staff are required to care for young children. Child Care Fee Assistance may be available for families who qualify.

Nursery School Programs

Nursery schools are licensed, part-day programs for more than five children between the ages of 1.5 and 5 years. They usually only run during the school year. Child Care Fee Assistance may be available for families who qualify.

School-age Programs (Licensed)

School-age programs are licensed to provide before and/or after school care for more than five children. Some programs also offer lunch supervision, as well as care on professional development days and school holidays. Child Care Fee Assistance may be available for families who qualify.

The Drop Zone is an affordable neighbourhood after-school program for students in Grades six to eight.

Approved Recreation Programs for School-age Children

HIGH FIVE®-approved recreation programs provide before and/or after school care and summer programs for school-age children. Care may also be provided during March/Christmas break and school board closures. Child Care Fee Assistance may be available for families who qualify.  

Unlicensed Child Care

Home-based Child Care Providers

Legally, unlicensed caregivers may care for a maximum of five children in addition to their own. Parents should inspect the home and conduct interviews carefully. Informal providers may or may not provide income tax receipts.

Nanny Care

Nannies may work on a live-in or daily basis. Some nannies are professionally trained and provide only child care. Some are primarily housekeepers who will babysit and others do light housework, but consider child care as their main responsibility.

Selecting Quality Child Care

For information on selecting quality child care, download one of the following resource packages:

  1. Selecting Quality Child Care in a Centre-Based Program
  2. Selecting Quality Child Care in a Home-Based Program

Child Care Site Maps

The following are links to maps and lists of child care sites in York Region.

Related Resources

External Resources


Parents,information,child care,options,providers The Regional Municipality of York en-US A mother and father with 2 elementary school-age children. Child Care Information for Parents York Region provides information to support families with selecting child care options. A variety of resources are available to help select quality child care options.

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