Child Care Options

About Day Care Options

Toronto Child Care services Options There are two basic kinds of Child Care in Ontario: licensed and unlicensed.

Whether or not a child care program needs a license depends on how many children a caregiver is looking after. In Ontario, caregivers that are unlicensed can look after up to five unrelated children under the age of 13 without needing a license. Licensed providers who are with an agency can take care up to 6 children under the age of 13.

Licensed child care programs have to meet and maintain specific provincial standards. These standards are set out in the Child Care and Early Years Act. The standards help to make sure that the health, safety, and developmental needs of the children are being met.

Licences have to be renewed at least every year.

Licensed Child Care

Staff of the Ministry of Education take unannounced inspections of all licensed child care programs to:

  • make sure that provincial standards are being met
  • investigate complaints
  • issue licences and renew licences
  • monitor operators who are having difficulty meeting licensing standards.

Unlicensed child care

The ministry does not regulate unlicensed child care arrangements. However, ministry staff will look into complaints from the public about a caregiver who may be taking care of more than five unrelated children.


Licensed child care in Ontario is regulated by the Child Care Early Years Act 2014, which sets out the requirements for a child care program licence. These regulations are intended to protect the health, safety and well-being of children. Examples of requirements include standards for:

  • allowable sizes for groups of children, by age and required number of staff (see also Licenced Capacity);
  • staff qualifications;
  • learning programs appropriate to specific age groups;
  • good nutrition including meals and snacks;
  • hygiene and cleanliness including space for washing and bathroom areas;
  • emergency and safety procedures including monthly fire drills;
  • behaviour management policies;
  • indoor and playground equipment, toys and furniture;
  • adequate indoor play space and natural light; and
  • health and medical records.

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