In Ontario all home child care is regulated by the province through the Ministry of Education. Home child care providers, whether affiliated with an agency or operating independently, have to abide by the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 and Regulations. Child care providers are self-employed, even if they are affiliated with an agency.
Providers Affiliated with a Licensed Agency
Child care providers affiliated with a licensed agency such as Community Child Care of Ottawa have, as a minimum, clear police records checks for the vulnerable sector for themselves and every adult regularly in their home, Standard First Aid and CPR and references. Vulnerable sector checks must be renewed every 5 years, and an offence declaration has to be signed in every intervening year.
Agency providers abide by the policies and procedures of the agency they are affiliated with as well as the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 and Regulations.
Agency homes are inspected at least once each quarter by a child care advisor/home visitor who has been approved by the Ministry of Education. Community Child Care and most other agencies also have their advisors make unannounced visits to every home at least once a month to monitor the care and provide support to the provider. The child care advisor is also available to parents of the children placed through the agency for support and advice and may be able to assist parents in accessing other resources for their children.
Providers with an agency must follow nutritional guidelines such as the Canada Food Guide in planning their meals and snacks, and are expected to have sufficient food and varied menus. Providers discuss their menus with the parents of children in their care and take individual preferences and dietary concerns into account.
Community Child Care and some other agencies allow providers to have a mix of children from our agency, another agency and private. Providers with an agency may care for up to 6 daycare children, depending on their skills, experience, child care space, insurance, etc. Their own children under the age of 4 count as though they were daycare children. Providers may care for no more than 3 children under the age of 2.
Through formal and informal training opportunities the agency helps our providers to be familiar with the Ontario’s pedagogy How Does Learning Happen? and with the Early Learning for Every Child Today curriculum.
Providers affiliated with an agency display a green sign issued by the Ministry of Education. If a provider you meet does not have a sign, the provider may not be affiliated with a licensed agency.
Providers not Affiliated with an Agency
All independent providers are also regulated by the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 and Regulations. However, there are no safety inspections of their homes and there is no independent monitoring of the care they provide or the activities and meals they offer. Parents monitor the care and may be able see the child care home only at drop-off and pick-up times. The Ministry of Education inspects independent child care homes generally only if there is a complaint.
Independent providers are required to have police records checks for the vulnerable sector. Some providers have First Aid and other training; some do not. Independent providers set their own fees and contract terms.
Independent providers may care for up to 5 daycare children. Their own children under the age of 4 count as though they were daycare children. Providers may care for no more than 3 children under the age of 2. It is up to parents to ensure that their child care provider is operating within the regulations and has the required documents, skills and experience to look after their child.
Independent providers are obliged to disclose to parents in writing that they are operating independently and are not licensed. Independent providers must give parents a receipt for their child care fees for income tax purposes.