Who to contact
- Ministry of Education, Early Learning and Child Care Branch
- (306) 787-2004
In Saskatchewan, the Ministry of Education is responsible for child care, kindergarten and pre-kindergarten services overall.
The Early Learning and Child Care Branch of the Ministry of Education administers the legislation and is responsible for child care services, consultations, standards and training.
Monitoring, licensing and consultation are provided through regional offices.
The same Branch is also responsible for pre-K.
Finding child care
Facts and figures
- There is a regulated space for 8.1% of children aged 0-12 yrs. (2014)
- There is a centre-based space for 12.6% of children aged 0-5 yrs. (2014)
- Several communities offer municipally-delivered or supported child care.
- All regulated child care centres are non-profit. (though for-profits are permitted to be licensed)
- For-profit centres are not eligible for funding and do not provide subsidized child care.
Parents are responsible for finding and obtaining a child care space for their child(ren); there is no entitlement.
Saskatchewan has an online licensed directory of child care homes and centres, which provides contact information for licensed centres and family child care providers in all 12 regions.
A parent’s guide to choosing child care services defines different types of child care, suggests key things for parents to look for when looking at prospective providers, and presents sample questions for parents to ask providers.
There is also a parent’s guide to ensuring your child has a good child care experience. This guide provides practical tips and strategies to optimize your child’s child care experience once you have found a child care provider.
Paying for child care
Parents are responsible for paying child care fees. According to the provincial government, average full-time monthly fees range from approximately $650 for infant care to $535 for a preschool-age child; fees were similar fees for centre and regulated family child care.
Subsidies are paid directly to service providers; they vary on a sliding scale with income — the lower the income, the higher the subsidy. Subsidy rates also vary by age of the child, the type of care provided and by region.
Maximum full-time fee subsidy rates vary from $330 to $570 per month. These usually do not cover the full fee: subsidized parents are responsible for the difference. Parents, even those with a full subsidy, are always required to pay a minimum of 10% of child care fees.
If parents are on social assistance and involved in employment, training or rehabilitation, the parent portion of regulated care or the community average cost of unregulated care may be subsidized.
Subsidies are available in regulated non-profit child care centres and licensed family child care homes. Parents must secure a child care space before applying for a subsidy.
More information about the child care subsidy program is available online. To apply, contact the Saskatchewan Ministry of Social Services, Child Care Subsidy Office at: 306-787-4114 or1-800-667-7155.
Regulated child care
Meeting the regulations is an important basis for quality but is considered to be a minimum in all provinces/territories. High quality centres:
- Go above and beyond minimum standards by, for example, increasing the number of staff or hiring staff with more than required early childhood training.
- Incorporate non-required elements into the program such as community involvement or inclusion of children with special needs.
- Develop their own approach to requirements such as a well-defined pedagogical approach.
In Saskatchewan, only not-for-profit centres are eligible for public funding of any kind. There are usually no (or very few) for-profit centres, although they are permitted to operate.
In Saskatchewan, child care centres, regulated family child care, school-age child care programs, and teen student support centres/homes (which provide care to parents attending high school) must operate in accordance with the regulations set out in the C-7.3 - Child Care Act [pdf] and C7-3R2 - Child Care Regulations, 2001 [pdf].
Part-time centre-based early childhood programs, or preschools (called nursery schools in some regions of Canada) are not required to be licensed in Saskatchewan.
Provincial program consultants, who are required to have an ECE background, work for the Early Learning and Child Care Branch of the Ministry of Education.They develop, license, monitor and consult with both centres and family child care homes. Licensed centres and regulated family child care homes (which are individually licensed in Saskatchewan) are inspected twice a year.
The Saskatchewan Child Care Act and Regulations address a wide range of standards - from mandating parent involvement to the number of hours care may be provided.
A number of regulations related to program quality are highlighted below.
- In Saskatchewan, there are three levels of staff training:
Level 1 - a 120 hour introductory course provided through a recognized post-secondary educational institution
Level two – a one year early childhood certificate
Level three - a two year early childhood diploma
- All staff employed at least 65 hours/month must have the 120 hour introductory course
- Half of all staff are required to have a one year certificate
- Centre directors must have a two year early childhood diploma
- All staff members in each centre must have completed a first aid and CPR course
- Providers must attend an orientation session with a provincial program consultant; obtain first-aid and CPR training; take part in six hours of professional development each licensing year; and complete a 40-hour introductory early childhood education course within the first year of licensing.
- Providers must be 18 years old.
- Within three years, providers must complete the 120 hour introductory course (level 1).
- Assistants must have first-aid and CPR training plus six hours of professional development each licensing year.
- Staff:child ratios address the number of staff required per number of children.
- Group size is the number of children, usually of one age group, that stay together throughout the day in a defined group – often a room.
- Family child care homes have a specified number of children by age.
Child care centres may have a maximum of 90 spaces overall, with a maximum of 12 spaces (two groups) for infants.
Child care centres
|Age of child||Staff:child ratio||Max group size|
|Infants (6wks – 17mos)||1:3||6|
|Toddlers (18 - 29mos)||1:5||10|
|Preschool (30mos - 6yrs)||1:10||20|
|School age (gr 1-12)||1:15||30|
- Family child care homes may have a maximum of eight children including provider’s own children under 13 years. There may only be five children under six years and two children under 2.5 years.
- Group family child care homes, which have two providers, may have a maximum of 12 children including the provider’s and assistant’s own children under 13 years; ten may be under six years or five children under 2.5 years.
- Teen student support family child care homes (one provider), may have a maximum of six children including the provider’s own children under 13 years. There may be a maximum of four children under six years and two children under 2.5 years.
- Service providers in all types of regulated child care in Saskatchewan are required to provide meals that meet “the nutritional needs of the children attending the facility” except for baby food and formula, which parents bring from home.
- Teen student support centres or teen student support family child care homes are required to provide baby food, but not infant formula.
- Service providers are not required to provide “meals and snacks for a child who requires a special diet or whose parent requests a special diet”.
- Centres must provide a “safe” outdoor play area of seven metres-squared per licensed child care space. At least half the outdoor play area must be adjacent to the centre, and the remainder must be within walking distance of the centre.
- There are no requirements for amount of time spent outdoors.
- The following practices are not permitted in any child care centre or regulated home: corporal punishment, physical, emotional or verbal abuse, denial of necessities, isolation, and inappropriate physical or mechanical restraint.
- Centres and regulated providers are required to develop a written policy with respect to child management and must ensure that all employees and volunteers who provide child care services comply with behavior management policy.
The regulations require some basic health and safety precautions to be met. For example, service providers are required to:
- Have accessible emergency contact information.
- Have and practice an evacuation plan.
- Report “unusual occurrences” (i.e., accident or injury) to the ministry consultant.
- Enforce hygienic diapering procedures and ensure the safe storage and administration of prescription medication.
Saskatchewan is unique in that all child care centres are required to have parents involved on a parent advisory committee.
The regulations do not address all aspects of quality. For example, there are no regulations or standards addressing curriculum or pedagogy in child care in Saskatchewan. A curriculum framework, Play and Exploration: Early Learning Program Guide is provided but it is not mandatory for services.
Unregulated child care
A family child care home is not required to be regulated if it has eight or fewer children under 13 years, including the caregiver’s own school-aged children. Of the eight children, five may be younger than six years and of these five, only two may be younger than 30 months.
Preschools (nursery schools) are not required to be regulated if they operate less than three hours/day or three days/week.
School-age child care programs located in schools are not required to be regulated.
Children with disabilities
Saskatchewan’s child care Inclusion program provides various grants to child care facilities to include children with diverse special needs. Individual Inclusion Grants of between $200-$300 are available to licensed providers in homes or centres. There is also a Centre Inclusion Block Fund that replaces the Individual Inclusion Grant in centres with a high percent of children with special needs. Finally, an Enhanced Accessibility grant of up to $2000/month is available to assist with additional costs of including a child with exceptionally high needs. Children categorized as having “special needs” must have a referral but not necessarily a diagnosis.
Parents of children with special needs pay the full cost of child care, though having a child with special needs is considered in the subsidy selection process.
See Do you have a child with a disability or special need? for more information on provincial/territorial supports for children with disabilities in child care.