Paying for child care

Every centre- and home-based child care provider is responsible for setting their own fees. You may qualify for government grants and subsidies to help you pay for child care:

Child care subsidy

Ontario's child care subsidy helps eligible families pay for child care. The Ontario government, municipal governments and First Nations communities share the cost of the program.

Who can apply?

You can qualify for the child care subsidy if you are the parent and your child:

  • is under 12 years old (or up to 18 years old if your child has special needs)
  • is in a licensed child care program, or
  • is a school-aged child enrolled in a recreation program, or
  • is in a before- and after-school program in a school that offers full-day kindergarten.

The amount you pay for child care depends on your family's adjusted net income. Your adjusted net income equals:

  • The net income amount on line 236 of the Canada Revenue Agency personal income tax form

  • Any federal Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) payments. (The UCCB is not considered in determining a family's child care fee subsidy).

How to apply

The ministry provides funding for fee subsidies to Consolidated Municipal Service Managers (CMSMs), District Social Services Administration Boards (DSSABs) and First Nations. You can apply for the child care subsidy or get more information about this program by contacting your local CMSM / DSSAB. For First Nations, please contact your local band office administrator.

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Other supports for families

There are grants and other supports available from the provincial and federal government that can help families with the cost of raising children.

Ontario Child Benefit

The Ontario Child Benefit (OCB) is financial support that low-to-moderate income families – whether they are working or not – may receive to help provide for their children.

Who can apply?

There is no application for the OCB. Depending on your family income, you may qualify for the OCB, if you:

  • are the primary caregiver of a child under 18;
  • are a resident of Ontario;
  • have filed and had assessed your previous year's income tax return, and so has your spouse or common-law partner; and
  • have registered your child for the federal Canada Child Tax Benefit.

Ontario Child Care Supplement for Working Families

The Ontario Child Benefit (OCB) consolidates several provincial child benefits into one benefit that is provided to low- and moderate-income families with children under 18 years old.

Since the introduction of the OCB in 2007, OCCS payments have been reduced by the amount of a family’s OCB. OCCS ended in July 2014 as the maximum annual OCB increased to $1,310 per child. The final OCCS entitlement will be paid for June 2014, with a final application deadline for this entitlement by December 31, 2015. Please note that no OCCS entitlements will be paid if an application is filed after December 31, 2015. Eligible families will continue to receive child benefit payments through the OCB.

As announced in the 2014 Ontario Budget, the government will begin indexing the OCB maximum benefit, and the income threshold at which the OCB starts to be reduced, to annual increases in the Ontario Consumer Price Index (CPI). This will take effect in July 2015, and will help safeguard the purchasing power of the OCB from erosion due to inflation.

Learn more about the Ontario Child Care Supplement for Working Families.

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Universal Child Care Benefit

The Government of Canada's Universal Child Care Benefit helps Canadian families pay for child care costs.

Who can apply?

You can apply if you have a child under the age of six.

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Canada Child Tax Benefit

The Canada Child Tax Benefit is a tax-free monthly payment. It helps families pay for the costs of raising children under the age of 18.

Who can apply?

For more information and instructions on how to apply, visit the website of the Canada Revenue Agency.

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