Lower fees for families who use licensed child care
Updates on eligibility and refunds for the Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) system)
Municipalities in Ontario are working with licensed child care operators to enroll them in the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) system. By participating in the new system, operators will be able to reduce fees for parents. To be eligible for lower child care fees, children must be enrolled in a licensed centre or home child care program that chooses to participate in the CWELCC system.
Children who are under the age of six
Children who turn six years old are eligible until June 30 of that calendar year
Reducing your fees
If you have a child of eligible age and your centre or program chooses to participate, and is approved, you will see the following reductions:
25% for any fees that you paid after April 1, 2022, to a minimum of $12 a day. We expect child care operators that are participating in CWELCC will provide refunds this fall.
An additional 25% reduction to your fees, effective January 1, 2023. This means the fees you pay next year will be 50% lower than they are now.
Additional reductions in 2024.
A final reduction as all child care fees move towards an average of $10 a day by September 2025.
Child care operators must apply to participate
All licensed child care operators can choose to participate in the new child care system.
The decision to participate in the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care system is up to the child care operator.
Licensed child care operators have until September 1, 2022 to decide if they wish to participate.
Next steps for you
Families will continue to pay their current fees in full until their child care operator’s application has been approved to participate. If your child care centre or program is approved, you will receive up to a 25% refund for any fees that you paid after April 1, 2022.
If your child care operator decides not to participate in the system or is not approved, they must inform you in writing. If your child care operator chooses not to participate, you will not be eligible for a refund. If you wish to withdraw your child(ren) from the program because of the operator’s decision, you will have 30 days from the time their letter is sent to you to withdraw without any penalty.
How to get your refund
You don’t need to do anything to get your refund. However, there are some things that need to happen first:
Your child care operator must apply to participate in the new child care system and be approved. If that happens, the operator will let you know when you will receive your refund.
Your child care operator must inform you if they decide not to participate or are not approved to participate, and update their parent handbook to indicate that they are not enrolled in the CWELCC system. You will not get a refund if your operator does not participate.
Families will start to receive refunds from the operator beginning this fall.
Regardless of when your child care operator is approved, you will still get the full 25% refund for any fees that you paid after April 1, 2022.
If you are no longer using child care but had an eligible child in licensed child care in April 2022, the operator will contact you with their decision to participate. If they choose to participate and are approved, you are eligible for a 25% refund for the fees you paid to the child care operator, which will be arranged by the operator.
If you would like to know if your child care operator intends to apply for CWELCC funding, you can ask them directly about their decision.
Learn more about the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care agreement
Licensed Child Care Options
There are many licensed child care options available to families, in Ontario, there area Licensed centre-based and home-based child care is available for children.
Child Care Fee Subsidy may be available for eligible families with children in licensed child care.
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 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 additional staff is required to care for young children.
In a licensed home-based agency
Individual home caregivers are not licensed by the Ministry of Education, but are contracted by home child care agencies that are licensed by the Ministry.
Home child care agencies recruit, screen, approve and supervise caregivers who provide child care in their own homes for children from birth to under 13 years of age. It is the agency that is licensed and responsible for ensuring each home meets Child Care and Early Years Act standards. The Child Care and Early Years Act governs the operation of child care centres, or nursery school programs, in Ontario. Child care centres, or nursery school programs, that have more than five children under age 10, must obtain a licence from Ontario’s Ministry of Education.
Homes are visited and monitored regularly by home child care agencies and are subject to spot checks. Homes are government-regulated and meet specific standards
Caregivers must meet a set of standards including police checks
The number and ages of children in care is regulated
The hours of care are flexible
Siblings can be placed together
There are smaller groups of children cared for per home, with a a maximum of six children per home
Financial support may be available to families who qualify
Tax receipts are provided
Nursery School Programs
Nursery schools are licensed, part-day programs for more than five children between the ages of 2 and a half and five years of age. They usually only run during the school year from September to June.
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.
Selecting Quality Child Care
For information on selecting quality child care, read our resource packages which can help you identify your family’s needs and select a quality child care program that is right for you and your child. The packages include information about child care options, child care needs, a child care checklist and how to help your child adjust to child care.