A guide for parents in Canada

New Brunswick

Who’s responsible?

Who to contact

  • Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
  •   Website (English)
      Website (Français)
  •   (506) 453-3678
  •   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In April 2011, the New Brunswick government formally integrated Early Childhood Development with the Department of Education to form the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. In a 2012 policy paper, Putting children first: Positioning early childhood for the future, the provincial government noted that “early childhood services now will focus on children from birth to age eight, which we believe will facilitate a smooth and seamless transition of services from one part of our system to the other”. In Septmeber 2016, the provincial government released the report Valuing children, families and childcare which serves as “a path for creating the right conditions for quality childcare that are accessible, affordable and inclusive, and that support parents’ participation in the workforce." Kindergarten in the province is a full-school-day program for 5 year olds.

The Child Day Care Services Program is responsible for the approval and monitoring of centre-based and home-based day care facilities and administration of the Day Care Assistance Program through their social development regional offices. 

Finding child care

Facts and figures

  • There is a regulated space for 27.9% of children aged 0 – 12 yrs. (2014)
  • There is a regulated full or part-time centre-based space for 29.1% of children aged 0 – 5 yrs. (2014)
  • 63% of child care is owned by private, for-profit organizations, the remainder by non-profit organizations. There is no publicly-delivered child care. (2014)

Parents are responsible for finding and obtaining a child care space for their child(ren); there is no entitlement.

There is a list of approved day care centres available online.

This list allows users to find licensed child care providers by region, and provides location and contact information. Parents are required to contact the program directly to register or place their child on the waiting list.

A parent's guide to quality care in New Brunswick and choosing a family day care home are available online as well.

Paying for child care

Parents are responsible for paying child care fees. According to the provincial government, the average monthly fee for full-time centre-based spot is $740 for an infant, $653 for a toddler, and $620 for a preschooler.

See 2015 data of child care fees from the 27 largest cities in Canada for a more detailed look at the breakdown of child care costs nationally. 

Toddler with newspapers for recycling


The Day Care Assistance Program, may provide families with a partial subsidy based on needs and income tests. Fee subsides are paid directly to service providers on behalf of eligible parents and can be used in non-profit, for-profit centres and community day care homes.

Typically, parents must be working, attending school or undergoing medical treatment to receive a subsidy. However, subsidies may also be prioritized for social assistance clients who are recently unemployed, completed training and actively seeking employment and families who have been referred for part-time care by a Social Worker.

Parents who do not have access to regulated child care (due to a rural location or irregular work hours for example), may be eligible for an alternative child care program which can provide a maximum daily subsidy of $18.50 for infants, $16.50 for children 2-5 years and $9.25 for after-school care.

Accessing subsidies

Contact your regional social development office to determine your eligibility.

Regulated child care

In New Brunswick, day care centres, nursery schools, school-age child care centres and community day care homes must operate in accordance with the regulations set out in the Family Services Act and Day Care Regulations (83-85).

Day care regulations can address a wide range of standards - from window size to attendance taking to outdoor time. Several regulations related to program quality are highlighted below.

  • In day care centres, the director or his/her designate or one in four staff is required to have a one-year community college ECE certificate or equivalent.
  • There are no training requirements for community home day care providers or staff working in stand-alone school-age programs. Providers are required to have a Prior Contact/Criminal Record Check.
  • 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

Each child care centre may have a maximum of 60 spaces overall (unless established prior to 1983 and grand parented under new regulations).

Staff: child ratios and group size in centre-based care
Age of child Staff:child ratio Max group size
Under 2years 1:3 9
2-3 years 1:5 10
3-4 years 1:7 14
4-5 years 1:10 20
5-6 years 1:12 24
6-12 years 1:15 30

The maximum capacity for community day care homes is:

  • Infants: 3
  • 2-5 years: 5
  • 6+ years: 9
  • Combination of ages: 6

Regulated centres are required to provide meals that are in accordance with the Canada Food Guide to Healthy Eating.

Regulated centres must have outdoor play space averaging 4.5 m-squared per child and be able to accommodate 50% of centre-capacity at any time.

Centres and day care homes are required to “provide information on how staff members guide children’s behaviour, discipline approaches used by the facility”. They must forbid anyone to: “Humiliate, belittle or degrade in any way”, “strike, shake, shove, spank, pinch or other measures that produce physical pain”, “withdraw or threaten to withdraw food, rest or bathroom opportunities”.

Non-profit centers are required to be managed by a board of directors whose members include at least two parents of enrolled children.

The provincial regulations require basic health and safety precautions are met. Some examples include:

  • Fire safety and building standards maintained in accordance with standards prescribed by the Fire Prevention Act.
  • Rules and instructions regarding evacuation posted in a conspicuous place.
  • Easy access to first aid supplies stored in an area inaccessible to children.

The regulations do not address all aspects of quality. For example, the regulations do not include a curriculum framework for child care but there are both English and French curriculum frameworks, and centres are required to use the appropriate one. New Brunswick’s Curriculum Framework for Early Learning and Child Care and Le Curriculum éducatif pour la petite enfance francophone du Nouveau-Brunswick set out to provide the foundation for an appropriate and stimulating curriculum for children from birth to five.

New Brunswick’s Department of Social Development is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of the curriculum in child care facilities and all child care workers working directly with children under the age of five are required to attend formal curriculum training. They will receive this training through a recognized training institute or through one of the two partnering universities – Université de Moncton or the University of New Brunswick.

Unregulated child care

Family child care in New Brunswick is "approved" rather than licensed. A family child care home is not required to be regulated if it has five or fewer children younger than 12 years old (including the caregiver’s own school- aged children). It is not legal to operate a nursery school or child care centre without a license.

Children with disabilities

In New Brunswick, children with identified special needs may be referred for Integrated Day Care Services through the Early Childhood Initiatives (ECI) Program. To be identified as special needs, the child must fall into one of three categories: a confirmed diagnosis at birth, developmental issues after birth, or family risk factors.

Facilities providing Integrated Day Care Services to children referred under ECI may receive an average of $3,400/year/child for children aged 2-5 years. The funding may also be used for transportation, materials, equipment and/or additional nutritional needs of the child. Child care providers are responsible for accessing supports through the program on behalf of the child.

New Brunswick has also put in place community based services for children with special needs (CBSCSN) to work with parents/legal guardians in providing the extra-ordinary care and support required to meet the special developmental needs of their severely disabled child. Access more information and check your eligibility online.

There are also services for preschool children with autism spectrum disorderservices for preschool children with autism spectrum disorders.

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.