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Improving the Safety and Accessibility of Child Care

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Improving the Safety and Accessibility of Child Care

Ontario Proposing Greater Oversight of Unlicensed Child Care Sector

Ministry of Education

Ontario is taking steps to strengthen oversight of the province's unlicensed child care sector while increasing access to licensed child care options for families.  

The Child Care Modernization Act, to be introduced today, would allow the province to immediately shut down a child care provider when a child's safety is at risk. If passed, the legislation would also:

  • Give the province the authority to issue administrative penalties of up to $100,000 per infraction by a child care provider.

  • Increase the maximum penalty for illegal offences under the proposed act from $2,000 to $250,000.

  • Increase the number of children a licensed home-based child care provider can care for from five to six.

  • Clarify what programs and activities are exempt from licensing requirements, including care provided by relatives, babysitters, nannies and camps that provide programs for school-age children.

  • Require all private schools that care for more than five children under the age of four to be licensed.

  • Amend the Education Act to ensure school boards offer before- and after-school programs for 6 to12 year olds where there is sufficient demand. Programs could be delivered directly by boards, by third-party child care providers, or by authorized recreation providers.

The proposed legislation builds on steps the province has taken to improve oversight of child care, including the creation of a dedicated enforcement team to investigate complaints against unlicensed providers and the development of an online searchable database of validated complaints.

Ensuring families have access to safe, modern child care is part of the Ontario government's plan to invest in people and give children the best possible start.

Quick Facts

  • Since 2003, access to licensed child care has grown by nearly 100,000 spaces.
  • There are 5,050 licensed child care centres in the province with a total capacity of 294,490 spaces; 143,020 of those spaces are in publicly funded schools.
  • Ontario is providing $346 million in child care funding over four years to help stabilize and modernize the child care system.
  • Since 2003, the province has increased funding for child care by 90 per cent to more than $1 billion in 2013-14.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“When parents drop their children off for child care, they want to know they’re in a safe nurturing environment, regardless of whether they are in licensed or unlicensed care. They also need to know that the government will be able to intervene when a child’s safety is at risk. That is exactly what this legislation provides. As we continue to identify ways to increase access to child care spaces in the province, Ontario families deserve a strong commitment from the federal government as well.”

Liz Sandals

Minister of Education

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