A guide for parents in Canada


Who’s responsible?

Who to contact

  • Department of Education
  •   Website
  •   (867) 975-7915

In Nunavut, the Department of Education is responsible for child care overall and for kindergarten.

The department is responsible for monitoring and licensing programs through regional Early Childhood Division offices.


Finding child care

Facts and figures

  • There is a regulated space for 12.2% of children aged 0 – 12 yrs. (2014)
  • There is a regulated full or part-time centre-based space for 22.6% of children aged 0 – 5 yrs. (2014)
  • All regulated child care is non-profit.

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

A list of licensed child care facilities is available online. This list provides location and contact information.

Parents are then responsible for contacting centres directly to register their child or put their name on a waiting list.


Paying for child care

Parents are responsible for paying child care fees. According to the provincial government, the average daily parent fee for full-time centre-based care is approximately $30 for both infants and preschoolers.

The Childcare Subsidy Program, which is administered by the Income Support office, may provide families with a partial subsidy based on a province wide needs test. Parents may be eligible to receive a set amount for full or part-time care for children 0-12 years of age.

toddler with stuffie

Fee subsidies are paid directly to service providers and can be used in regulated and unregulated child care settings. Parents must be attending school or work outside the home to be eligible for a subsidy.

In the case of a subsidy for unregulated care, the subsidy is paid to the parent based on an invoice signed by the child care provider. An unregulated provider may be a relative of a parent of the child being subsidized.

The Child Care Subsidy Application is available online. 

For more information, call the Income Support office or the Career and Early Childhood Services office in your region.


Regulated child care

In Nunavut, day care centres, nursery schools, after-school care and regulated family day homes operate in accordance with the regulations set out in the Northwest Territories Child Day Care Act and the Child Day Care Standards and Regulations 1994.

Regulations address a wide range of standards - from window size to attendance taking to outdoor time. A number of regulations related to program quality are highlighted below.

There are no minimum training requirements in any child care settings in Nunavut.

Caregivers in all regulated settings must be at least 19 years of age and have a first-aid certificate and a clear criminal record with regard to offences respecting a child.

  • 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.

Staff child ratios address how many staff there must be for a group of children in any given room.

The maximum group size is the number of children of one age group that stay together throughout the day in a defined group – often a room.  

Child care centres

Maximum ratios and group sizes in regulated centre-based care
Age groupStaff:child ratioMax group size
 0-12 mos  1:3  6
 13-24 mos  1:4  8
 25-35 mos  1:6  12
 3 years  1:8  16
 4 years  1:9  18
 5 years  1:10  20
 Mixed age group 0-24mos  1:4  8
 Mixed age group 2-5years  1:8  16
 Mixed age group 5-11 yrs  1:10  20

Family child care

Regulated family child care homes can have a maximum of eight children under 12 years, including the provider’s own children with the following restrictions: Max of six children 5  years and under, max of three children 3 years and under, max of two children under 2 years and under.

Regulated centres are not required to provide meals. When meals are provided they must be in accordance with the Canada Food Guide to Healthy Eating.

Every operator shall provide daily outdoor play activities for each child and provide safe outdoor play space.

Where the outdoor play space is adjacent to the child care facility, the operator shall ensure: a minimum of 5 m² of play space is provided for each child; and the space is fenced if the surrounding environment is potentially hazardous to children.

Every operator must develop, post and circulate to staff and to parents/guardians a written discipline policy. An operator shall ensure that no child is subject to any form of physical punishment, verbal or emotional abuse, and/or the denial of any physical necessity.

The legislation requires non-profit programs to have boards of directors with at least 51% parent members. If there are for-profit programs, they are required to establish and confirm in writing with the Director of Child Day Care Services a plan for involving the parents or guardians of children attending the centre in the operation of the program.

The regulations require some basic health and safety precautions to be met. Some examples include: a written procedure for emergency evacuation, daily written record summarizing incidents affecting health, safety, or well-being of staff or children, available first aid kit and first aid manual, medications stored in a locked place, written permission obtained before staff can administer medications to children, and a centre-specific written policy and procedure regarding serious occurrences (i.e., injury, death) must be provided.

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 Nunavut.

Unregulated child care

A family child care home is not required to be regulated if it has four or fewer children including the provider’s own children up to 12 years old. It is not legal to operate a nursery school or child care centre without a license.

Children with disabilities

Families in Nunavut are eligible for the child care subsidy if their child has a special need and child care is recommended by a recognized health care professional.

Care providers are funded to provide extra support for children with special needs through the daily operating grants, which are based on the age of the child and the area in which the centre is located.

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.