Ontario’s new Childcare Bill 10
March 16, 2015
Recently, as I have been getting more and more engaged with the childcare communities in and out of Alberta, I have been wondering how things differ across the country! And it turns out, quite a lot!
In Ontario, they are going through a change to their childcare policies and regulations, the process of which is going to be implemented gradually over the next couple of years. As I read through Bill 10 and the Childcare Modernization Act, I had a number of questions (those legal, government documents can sometimes seem like reading Chinese!), and so I fired off an email to the Ministry of Education, Child Care Quality Assurance and Licensing, really, not expecting an answer (because honestly, that has been the response I’ve gotten here in Alberta). Well, I was pleasantly surprised!! Within a few days, I had a response, both respectful and comprehensive.
I asked about how private dayhomes and agencies work in Ontario, and what changes will be seen for both licensed dayhomes (with an agency) and unlicensed dayhomes as Bill 10 comes to be.
The response was as follows:
Dear Ms. Holt,
Thank you for your follow up questions about home child care in Ontario.
As mentioned in the previous response, under the Day Nurseries Act, licensed private-home day care agencies contract with individual providers who use their own homes to look after children. These providers are screened and monitored by home visitors who are employees of the private-home child care agency. Home visitors check that a home is safe before children are enrolled and conduct routine inspections to ensure caregivers are following provincial rules, as well as the agency’s policies and procedures. Home visitors can also help families find a home caregiver that is affiliated with a licensed agency and meets their needs.
Home visitors may also help individual providers affiliated with their agency by:
developing programs for children at different stages of development
providing advice about nutritious meal planning
helping choose toys and equipment that are safe and suitable.
Provided it complies with the DNA (Day Nursies Act) and its regulations, each private-home day care agency has the discretion to choose how it manages its operations, including the services it provides for families and the supports it has in place for contracted providers.
There is no mid-sized child care classification in Ontario. Anyone who cares for more than five unrelated children under the age of 10 years must be licensed as a day nursery. All licensing requirements, including those related to building and accommodation must be met by the operator regardless of the size or location of the child care centre.
You may find the Orientation Package for New Operators Orientation Pkg_Prospective Operators 2014 ENG FINAL helpful, as it contains a summary of licensing requirements for both child care centres and private-home day care agencies. As the Ministry of Education is currently experiencing a website outage, I have attached a copy of the Orientation Package for you.
You also asked follow-up questions related to Ontario’s new child care legislation, the Child Care and Early Years Act (CCEYA). The CCEYA will not come into force immediately. An incremental and phased process is planned to implement the provisions under the new act. The legislation needs to be officially “proclaimed” into effect and this is not expected to happen before Fall 2015. As you mentioned, the new Act will enable licensed home-based providers to care for six children (instead of the current five). Under the CCEYA, a child is defined as a person under 13 years of age.
The CCEYA would continue to permit unlicensed child care providers to care for a maximum of five children and would require that unlicensed providers adhere to the same age restrictions as licensed home-based child care (i.e. caring for no more than two children under two years of age) and that they include their own children under the age of six when determining the total number of children being cared for on the premises.
The CCEYA also provides flexibility to home child care providers with the option to exclude counting their own children who are four and five years old if they are enrolled in full-day kindergarten, and the provider cares for fewer than two children under two and meets prescribed criteria. Further details will be established by regulation.
To provide additional transition time for unlicensed providers when the CCEYA is proclaimed, it will include a special exception for unlicensed providers. The new rules on counting the provider’s own children and caring for no more than two children under the age of two will not apply to unlicensed child care providers until January 1, 2016 (or another day if one is set by regulation).
However, this exception only applies to a provider who was already providing care to the child on the day the Child Care Modernization Act, 2014 received Royal Assent (December 4, 2014). In order to implement and clarify all the requirements under the new act, the government will be drafting a broad range of regulations. All regulations under the act are subject to public consultation.
I encourage you to participate in future opportunities to provide your input to guide this work. As of proclamation, the new rules under the CCEYA will apply to all providers for children who started in their care after Dec. 4, 2014.
I hope this information is helpful. Thank you again for taking the time to write.
Given the state of childcare in Alberta, is there anything you can see that we could learn from Ontario? Anything you are relieved we DON’T have to deal with that they do?
For more information about different regulations across Canada, per province, have a look at Dayhome Regulations across Canada – Sheet1