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Ontario Ending Fees for Child Care Wait Lists

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Ontario Ending Fees for Child Care Wait Lists

Province Introduces New Regulation to Ban Wait List Fees

Ministry of Education

Ontario has filed a regulation to end fees for child care wait lists to improve the accessibility of child care and make life easier for families. 

The ban will take effect September 1, 2016, and will prevent licensed child care centres and home child care agencies from charging fees or requiring deposits to join child care wait lists.

The regulatory amendments also require licensed child care providers to:

  • Develop a public wait list policy that clearly explains how children on a wait list are offered admission. 
  • Ensure wait list status is made available to families, in a manner that protects the confidentiality of their personal information.

The regulation was developed with feedback from public consultations and from the Ontario Regulatory website, with strong support for a ban on wait list fees from parents, child care providers and municipalities. The consultation period was open from May 17 to July 4, 2016.

Giving Ontario's children the best possible start in life is part of the government's economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest infrastructure investment in hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit in Ontario's history and is investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement. 

Quick Facts

  • Ontario is the first province in Canada to ban child care wait list fees.
  • On May 16, 2016 Arthur Potts, MPP for Beaches – East York introduced a Private Member’s Bill in the Ontario legislature that would restrict licensees to charge non-refundable fees for child care wait lists.
  • In August 2015 the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014, was proclaimed to strengthen oversight of the province’s unlicensed child care sector and increase access to licensed child care options, including before and after school programs where there is sufficient demand.
  • The province announced $120 million over three years in new funding in April 2015 dedicated to building more than 4,000 safe, high-quality, licensed child care spaces in schools across the province.
  • Since 2003–04, the government has doubled child care funding to more than $1 billion annually, and the number of licensed child care spaces in Ontario has grown to nearly 351,000 – an increase of 87 per cent.
  • Ontario is investing $269 million over three years to support a wage increase for early childhood educators and other child care professionals in licensed child care settings.

Additional Resources


“We listened to parents and heard their concerns about wait list fees. That’s why we are stopping this unfair practice. No family should have to pay to simply be on a waiting list for child care. We will continue working with our partners to build a high-quality and accessible child care and early years system that better serves Ontario’s children and families.”

Mitzie Hunter

Minister of Education

“I want to thank local parents who raised the issue of child care wait list fees, and who helped our office advocate for change. Our government listened to and shared these parents’ concerns, and took quick action to address this unnecessary practice. The ban helps ensure transparency and fairness, and I’m very pleased to see it come into effect.”

Arthur Potts

MPP for Beaches-East York

“The government is to be commended for responding quickly. I am extremely supportive of the proposed speedy introduction of the proposed regulation.”

Martha Friendly

Founder and Executive Director of the Childcare Resource and Research Unit, Childcare Canada

“As Ontario’s leading provider of non-profit child care, the YMCA has the best interests of children and families at heart. This is why we support early learning and child care that is accessible, affordable and high-quality. YMCA Ontario supports the Government of Ontario’s proposal to remove waitlist fees as this will reduce the financial burden faced by many families when enrolling their children into child care.”

Linda Cottes

Chair, YMCA Ontario Child Care Advisory

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