Licensing: Standards, legislation and inspections

Licensing: Standards, legislation and inspections

As of August 31, 2015, the Child Care and Early Years Act will come into effect. This new legislation will replace the outdated Day Nurseries Act. For further information about the rules and regulations under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014:

In Ontario, anyone who cares for six or more children under the age of 10 must be licensed by the Ministry of Education. This includes home-based child care and centre-based child care.

Currently, under the Day Nurseries Act licensed child care programs must meet and maintain specific provincial standards set out in the Day Nurseries Act. These standards provide for the health, safety and developmental needs of the children.

At least once a year, Ministry of Education staff will make unannounced inspections of all licensed child care programs to:

  • ensure that provincial standards are being met
  • issue and renew licences
  • investigate complaints
  • monitor operators who are having difficulty meeting licensing standards.

Licensing reports for all home-based and centre based licensed child care programs are available on the licensed child care finder.

What happens during the inspection of a child care centre?

The licensing inspector interviews program staff to ensure the child care program meets the government's licensing standards:

  • Policies and procedures

  • Building and accommodation

  • Equipment and furnishings

  • Playground

  • Records

  • Staff and group size

  • Nutrition

  • Program activities

  • Health and medical supervision

What happens during the inspection of a private-home day care agency?

Ministry of Education staff will inspect private-home day care agencies to ensure they meet provincial standards in the following categories:

  • Policies and procedures

  • Behaviour Management Policy and Procedures

  • Records

  • Staff Qualifications and Numbers

  • Children Enrolled

  • Program

Private-home day care agency providers are not licensed directly. Instead, the ministry licenses private-home day care agencies. Licensed private-home day care agencies then contract individual caregivers who use their own homes to care for children. Caregivers are screened, approved and monitored by home visitors. These home visitors work for the home child care agency.

Completing the inspection checklist
The licensing inspector will complete a checklist that details each licensing standard. For each standard or requirement, the inspector will note if the program is in compliance on the date of inspection or not in compliance on the date of inspection.

After the inspection, the inspector reviews the checklist with the operator or supervisor and discusses any standards or requirements that the program did not meet. The inspector gives the operator up to 10 days to meet the requirements. The inspector updates the licensing report to note which requirements were met before the licence was issued.

Regular licence

A child care operator will be issued a regular licence once all requirements are met. A regular licence may be issued for a period of up to one year. Visit the licensed child care finder to see recent licensing inspections for local child care programs.

Provisional licence

A provisional licence may be issued when a child care program has not met all of the licensing requirements under the Day Nurseries Act. When this happens, the program may be given a short period of time to meet the licensing requirements. A provisional licence does not mean that the children are unsafe or that the program is about to close.

If, at any time, an inspection shows that there may be a threat to a child's health, safety or welfare, the ministry will take immediate steps to protect the children in care. If a child's well-being is in danger, the ministry will contact a Child Protection Agency.

The Ministry of Education can suspend a program's licence if there is a threat to the health, safety or welfare of the children. When this happens, the program must remain closed and cannot operate until the operator complies with the "Notice of Direction" from the ministry.