Information on Child Care and the Early Years

Ontario is committed to building a high-quality, inclusive and affordable early years and child care system. Here are resources with information about how we are supporting positive learning environments for children.

COVID-19: Reopening child care and early years programs

As of September 1, 2020, child care centres across Ontario, including centres in First Nations communities, as well as all before- and after-school programs, are permitted to operate at full capacity.

EarlyON Child and Family Centres and First Nations Child and Family Programs on reserve are permitted to reopen with in-person programming where participants pre-register.

All child care and early years programs are required to operate with enhanced health and safety protocols. Operational guidance includes:

Ensuring children's health and safety is as important as supporting children's learning, development and emotional well-being. This new resource entitled Building on How Does Learning Happen? Pedagogical Approaches to Re-opening Early and Child Care Programs in Ontario (PDF, 312 Kb) shares ideas, reflective questions and lessons learned from the emergency child care provided during the COVID-19 pandemic, as child care and early years programs reopen across the province.

Please also visit Ontario's COVID-19 website regularly for information and resources to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Spotlight on Success

Sharing best practices and new initiatives in the early years and child care sector across Ontario.

The Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 (CCEYA)

Image of a child and child care specialist On August 31, 2015, the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 (CCEYA) came into effect. This new legislation replaced the Day Nurseries Act.

“The New Child Care and Early Years Act: What Providers and Parents Need to Know”

The first phase of regulations under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 came into effect on August 31st, 2015 carrying over many of the existing regulations under the previous legislation (i.e., the Day Nurseries Act)

On May 9, 2016, the Ministry of Education filed the second phase of regulations under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 and Education Act. The new rules took effect at varying dates, starting July 1, 2016.

A third phase of regulations under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 was filed on March 1, 2018, with varying effective dates.

A fourth phase of regulations under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 and the Education Act was filed on August 2, 2019, with amendments coming into effect either upon filing or on September 1, 2019.

The CCEYA requires that the Minister of Education conduct a review of the Act within five years of its coming into force. On July 7, 2020, the Ministry launched a review with two online surveys, as part of a broader consultation approach with the sector and the public. Feedback received from families and sector partners, along with the ministry's own findings, will help shape future child care and early years planning in the province.

If you are looking for information about applying for a child care licence, visit the Child Care Licensing Resources page.

Child Care licensees now have access to the E-Module: Putting How Does Learning Happen? into Practice: Program Expectations for Licensed Child Care. This E-Module will assist early years professionals to understand connections between How Does Learning Happen? and the program requirements under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014.

Operating before and after school programs with expanded hours

Some authorized recreational and skill building programs can apply to operate before and after school programs:

  • for more than three hours a day
  • on non-instructional days during the school year

Program providers may request an application by emailing tpa.edu.earlylearning@ontario.ca .

The following providers are eligible to apply:

  • a member of YMCA Canada or Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada
  • a local service system manager, municipality or First Nation
  • a Friendship Centre that is a member of the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres
  • an organization delivering Ontario's After School Program funded by the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries

By applying, providers are seeking an exemption from operating requirements under regulation 137-15 of the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014.

Providers who wish to implement program changes or new programs during the 2020-2021 school year must apply before March 26, 2021.

Providers who wish to implement program changes or new programs in the 2021-2022 school year must apply before April 30, 2021.

The ministry will initially allow up to 5,000 spaces to operate under the exemption across the province.

When reviewing applications we will prioritize programs that:

  • address gaps and/or parent demand for before and after school spaces by expanding program hours or creating new spaces
  • offer programming reflective of Indigenous and Francophone cultures, histories and perspectives
  • support school boards in meeting their duty to offer before and after school programs
  • support local community need, as identified through consultation with service system managers, school boards, families or other community organizations

Authorized recreational programs that are approved to operate under the exemption:

EarlyON Child and Family Centres

EarlyON Child and Family Centres provide opportunities for children from birth to 6 years of age to participate in play and inquiry-based programs, and support parents and caregivers in their roles.

Affordability and Workforce Studies

Early Years Accommodations in Schools

Ontario has chosen schools as priority locations for early years programs. To support early years programming in schools, the Ministry of Education set up a working group to provide advice on early years accommodation costs. The ministry and the working group have created a reference guide for school boards, CMSMs and DSSABS, and early years service providers. The guide contains information and guiding principles to help promote transparency, accessibility and efficiency when considering costs for early years service providers operating in schools.

Annual Reports

Previous Reports and Research