Enforcement

What child care providers, home child care agencies and child care centres need to know about Ontario’s new child care legislation and administrative penalties

Enforcement fact sheet, PDF format (278 KB).

Ontario’s vision for the early years is that children and families are well supported by a system of responsive, high-quality, and accessible early years programs and services. We are confident this will contribute to healthy child development and a stronger future for all children.

What does the new Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 do?
The new Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 came into effect on August 31, 2015. This legislation replaced the Day Nurseries Act and established new rules for child care in Ontario.

As part of Ontario’s plan to modernize its child care system, the new rules support the health and safety of children, increase the government’s oversight of child care providers and help parents make informed choices about child care options.

How will the Ministry of Education enforce the new rules?
The new legislation allows the Ministry of Education a range of enforcement tools to encourage compliance in both the unlicensed and licensed child care sectors. These tools include compliance orders, protection orders, administrative penalties and prosecution of offences committed under the Act.

Whenever appropriate, the Ministry will take an escalating approach to enforcement, starting first by providing clarity to providers, staff and licensees on the rules of the new legislation. This clarity may be provided by Ministry Program Advisors or Enforcement Investigators. If further actions are required, depending on the nature of the contravention and the specific circumstances, a compliance order or administrative penalty may be issued.

A protection order is issued when there is an immediate threat the health or safety of children. A protection order requires that the provision of child care end immediately until such time as the Ministry is assured that the threat is resolved.

What is an administrative penalty?
It may be issued for contraventions of the Act or regulations and the specific dollar amount of each penalty is outlined in a table in Ontario General Regulation 137/15.

Administrative penalties under the legislation range from $500 to $2000 for every day the non-compliance continues and may be issued for a range of contraventions including exceeding the permitted number of children on site and obstructing an inspector. An administrative penalty is also sometimes referred to as an administrative monetary penalty.

When an administrative penalty is issued in a licensed child care centre, who is responsible for paying the amount?
Licensing requirements in the regulations must be met by the licensee—the individual or corporate entity to whom the child care licence is issued.

An administrative penalty issued for a contravention of the regulations would be issued to the licensee. It would then be the responsibility of the licensee to pay the administrative penalty within 30 days or submit a request for review within 15 days (see all contraventions in the tables below highlighted in blue).

There are some requirements in the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 that apply to individuals and for which an administrative penalty may be issued. These include the duties and prohibitions that apply to unlicensed providers, individuals working in licensed settings and home child care providers (see all contraventions in the tables below highlighted in pink).

There are also requirements that could apply to individuals who may or may not be licensees. (see all contraventions in the tables highlighted in yellow).

Table 1
Item Contravened provisions Description of contravention Amount of administrative penalty, in dollars
1. Act, s. 6 (1), read with s. 6 (3) subparagraph 1 i Prohibition – provision of home child care, total number of children 2000 × number of children that exceed the number specified in the Act
2. Act, s. 6 (1), read with s. 6 (3) subparagraph 1 iv Prohibition – provision of home child care, number of children younger than two 2000 × number of children that exceed the number specified in the Act
3. Act, s. 6 (1), read with s. 6 (3) subparagraph 1 iii Prohibition – provision of home child care, advising home child care agency 1,000
4. Act, s. 6 (1), read with s. 6 (3) subparagraph 2 i Prohibition – provision of unlicensed child care, total number of children 2000 × number of children that exceed the number specified in the Act
5. Act, s. 6 (1), read with s. 6 (3) subparagraph 2 iii Prohibition – provision of unlicensed child care, number of children younger than two 2000 × number of children that exceed the number specified in the Act
6. Act, s. 7 Prohibition – operation of home child care agency 1,000
7. Act, s. 8 Prohibition – operation of multiple unlicensed premises 2,000
8. Act, s. 9 Prohibition – past conduct, child care providers, etc. 1,000
9. Act, s. 10 Prohibition – preventing parental access to the child and premises 1,000
10. Act, s. 11 Prohibition – use of terms re licensing 750
11. Act, s. 12 Duty to disclose if not licensed 750
12. Act, s. 14 Duties re posting, returning and copying licences 750
13. Act, s. 15 Duty to provide receipt for payment 500
14. Act, s. 31 (4) Obligation to produce and assist 500
15. Act, s. 35 Obligation to provide criminal reference checks 2,000
16. Act, s. 76 Prohibition – obstruction of inspector 4,000
17. Regulation, s. 8 Ratios and maximum group sizes, child care centre 2000 × number of children that exceed the number specified in s. 8
18. Regulation, s.8.1 Licensed family age groups 2000 × number of children that exceed the number specified in s. 8.1
19. Regulation, s. 9 (1) Home child care group sizes 2000 × number of children that exceed the number specified in s. 9
20. Regulation, s. 11 Supervision by adult at all times 2000

Table 2
Item Contravened provisions Description of contravention Amount of administrative penalty, in dollars
1. Regulation, clause 38 (b) Reporting of serious occurrence 2,000
2. Regulation, s. 40 (1), (2) Administration of drugs or medications 2,000
3. Regulation, s. 48 Prohibited practices 2,000
4. Regulation, s. 72 (1), (2), (3) Records re children 750
5. Regulation, s. 74 Records re home child care providers 750
6. Regulation, s. 75 Copies of agreements 750

If a home child care provider contravenes the rules and cares for more children than permitted, will the home child care agency be issued an administrative penalty?
If a home child care provider is found caring for more than six children, the provider may be issued a notice of administrative penalty for $2,000 for each child exceeding the permitted number for every successive day the non-compliance continues.

In addition, the home child care agency may be issued an administrative penalty if there are more than six children being cared for on a premises where the agency oversees the provision of child care and the agency appears to have played a role in the non-compliance.

I own a licensed child care centre. If staff negligence results in an administrative penalty, can I garnish my employee’s wages to cover the cost?
Under the Employment Standards Act, only three types of deductions can be made from an employee’s wages: statutory deductions, deductions authorized by a court order and deductions authorized by the employee in writing (subject to certain restrictions and conditions). Deductions due to the employee’s faulty work are not permitted. For more information, please visit Ontario’s Ministry of Labour’s website.

How will< the Ministry ensure the administrative penalties are issued in a fair and consistent manner across the province?
All administrative penalties are centrally issued by the manager of the corporate enforcement unit after careful consideration of the circumstances. As set out in the legislation, the purpose of the penalty must be to encourage compliance and prevent a person from deriving any economic benefit from contravening the Act or regulations.

Can administrative penalties be appealed?
An individual issued a notice of administrative penalty has up to 15 days to submit a request for review. The review is conducted by a senior designated employee who considers the materials and documents presented in the notice and the request for review. Upon review, the senior designated employee may rescind, reduce or affirm the penalty amount. Details on how to submit a request for review are included in the notice of administrative penalty.