A guide for parents in Canada

Prince Edward Island

Who’s responsible?

Who to contact

  • Department of Education, Early Learning and Culture
  •   Website
  •   (902) 438-4130

In Prince Edward Island, the Early Childhood Development division of the Department of Education, Early Learning and Culture is responsible for licensing and monitoring early learning and child care programs, administering government funding, and providing family support programs. The Schools in PEI division of the Department is responsible for kindergarten.

The Department of Family and Human Resources is responsible for the Child Care Subsidy Program.

Finding child care

Facts and figures

  • There is a regulated space for 33.8% of children aged 0–12 years; regulated full or part-time centre-based space for 39.4% of children aged 0–5 yrs. (2016)
  • 59% of child care is owned by private, for-profit organizations. There is no publically delivered child care. (2016)

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

The province offers several resources to support families locate licensed early learning and child care programs in their community.

The Directory of Licensed Early Learning and Child Care Centres includes descriptions of different types of care available and information about programs locations, hours, and age groups served.

The Early Learning and Child Care Registry also helps families locate licensed early learning and child care centres in their community and allows families to join waitlists online.

A Guide to Quality Child Care is available for tips on what to look for and questions to ask.

Paying for child care

Parents are responsible for paying child care fees. In 2012, a national survey of child care centres and staff found the median monthly parent fee for centre-based full-time care was $696/mo for infants, $566/mo for toddlers, and $544/mo for preschoolers. However designated Early Years Centres in PEI have provincially set parent fees based on the age of the child. They are as follows: $34/day for 0 – 2 year olds, $28/day for 2 – 3 year olds and $27/day for 3 year olds – school entry age.

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.


The Child Care Subsidy Program, which is administered by Department of Community Services and Seniors may provide families with a partial or full subsidy based on a province-wide income test. In Prince Edward Island, subsidies can be used in either non-profit or for-profit regulated centres and family child care.

Accessing subsidies

Contact your local office to apply for a subsidy.

Note: You must find a child care centre or family home day care for your child before a subsidy can be applied. Applications for the above program are not available online.

Regulated child care

baby learning to crawl

In Prince Edward Island, early childhood centres, school-age child care centres and regulated family child care must operate in accordance with the regulations set out in the Child Care Facilities Regulations.

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

  • In full and part day child care centres, centre supervisors and one full-time staff member in each program must have at least a one-year Early Childhood Development diploma or university Child Study degree.
  • In family child care homes and school-age centres the supervisor and one staff person must have successfully completed one unit of continuing education (defined as one semester university/college course) in early childhood development, and must provide two personal references from members of the community.
  • 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 centre may have a maximum of 50 spaces overall.

Staff: child ratios and group size in centres
Age of childStaff:child ratiosMax group size
0-2 years 1:3 6
2-3 years 1:5 not specified
3-5 years 1:10 not specified
5-6 years 1:12 not specified
7+ years 1:15 not specified

Family child care

The maximum capacity for a regulated family child care home is seven children including the provider’s own children under school-age. Of those seven children there can be a maximum of three children under two years.

Regulated centres are not required to provide meals (if they’re not provided, children bring them from home). If meals are provided, they must be in accordance with the Canada Food Guide to Health Eating.

There is no minimum outdoor time requirement. A child care centre must provide a minimum of seven square metres of outdoor space for each child enrolled; exceptions may be made to this requirement if adjacent outdoor space is not available.

The supervisor is required to develop and post behavior management policies. The supervisor must also instruct all staff and program volunteers as to the behaviour management policies in effect at the program. Policies must indicate a positive approach to discipline and prohibit any form of physical punishment, verbal or emotional abuse or denial of necessities.

The regulations require that basic health and safety precautions are met. For example, 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
  • Ensure the safe storage and administration of prescription medication.

PEI adopted a play-based curriculum framework, Relationships, environments, experiences for regulated child care programs in 2012; it is mandatory for Early Years Centres (but not other child care centres) to use it.

The regulations do not address all aspects of quality.  For example, the regulations do not address levels of, or strategies for parental involvement.

Unregulated child care

A family child care home is not required to be regulated if it has five or fewer children of any age, including the preschool-age children of the person providing the care. If all children are under 2 years, three are allowed, or five preschoolers with no more than two of them younger than 2 years. Six are allowed in a mixed-age group up to 10 years with no more than two younger than 2 years.

Children with disabilities

Families may be eligible for a subsidy if they have a child with a disability regardless of parents’ employment status. Prince Edward Island’s requirements for more publicly-managed and funded Early Years Centres is that children with disabilities and/or special needs cannot be refused a place in the program because of their disability or special need.

Centres may apply for a special needs grant on behalf of a child, which may provide up to $11.50/hour for an additional staff person based on their training and experience. The role of these grants is to lower ratios to allow for more successful inclusion into early childhood settings for children with special needs.

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.