A guide for parents in Canada

Child care by province or territory

This page provides information intended to help parents understand and find child care in each province and territory.

Below is an overview of the kinds of search and access tools that will be useful for parents.  

By following the links to each province and territory, parents can find detailed information including who to contact, how to access subsidies, and information about quality factors such as staff training requirements, staff:child ratios, meals and curricula, and inclusion of children with disabilities.

Provincial / territorial tools

  • Almost all provinces/territories provide lists of regulated child care centres, part-day and school-age programs and regulated family child care on their websites, usually providing the program’s address, phone number and website, if there is one.
  • Several provinces/territories also provide licensing information about regulated programs online. This information is limited, but includes whether a centre or family child care home is regulated, has a “clear license” and has any current non-compliance issues. Alberta provides a fairly detailed licensing history.
  • Parents can search for a space online in some locations, for example, in Manitoba and Ottawa, or register to search for child care in PEI.
  • In some places, for example Manitoba and the City of Toronto, parents can also apply for a fee subsidy online.
  • In Alberta, a child care centre accreditation process may provide further information.

Local tools

  • In Ontario, where local governments have an administrative role, some municipalities or regional governments provide search tools such as lists of regulated options, a central vacancy list, or results from locally-implemented quality assurance activities.   
  • Some provinces/territories have networks of local early childhood-linked organizations, for example BC’s Child Care Resource and Referral, to which family child care providers may be linked, Newfoundland’s Family Resource Centres or Ontario’s Early Years Centres. Family resource programs (FRPs) in most provinces and territories play a number of roles for families including support in their search for child care.

Tools to find unregulated child care are ad hoc: newspaper and bulletin board ads, word-of-mouth, and the internet. None of these tools are monitored in any way nor is there any oversight regarding the content of ads or notices, the care being offered, or the claims made.

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