Canadian Child Care Services: Six Types to Consider for Your Child


Since so many parents are now working, either out of necessity or simply because they want to, choosing the right type of daycare facility is crucial. In Canada, there are numerous types of facilities devoted to professional child care, and before you decide which one is best for you, it’s good to learn a little about the different types so you can know for sure what to expect. Below is a recap of each type of daycare center found in Canada.

1. Part-Time Programs for Young Children

Nursery schools and preschools fall under this category, but these are programs that young children attend only on a part-time basis. Just the same as full-time centers, they must be licensed in order to operate, with the exception of two areas: Yukon and Saskatchewan. In these areas, part-time centers can be operated without getting a license first. Nevertheless, many parents choose licensed facilities for peace of mind. If you choose to enroll your child in an unlicensed facility, it’s important that you check them out first to make sure that they will take good care of your child.

2. Full-Time Programs for Young Children

These are centers that allow full-time child care, which means that they must be licensed. As with anything else, however, there are a few exceptions. These include some private schools and religious schools in some (but not all) regions of the country. Most parents choose this type of daycare center when they need this service, but it’s a good idea to research the facility first to make sure that they are licensed or that they do not need to be licensed in the first place. 

3. Programs for School-Aged Children

These refer to centers that offer before- and after-school care, as well as programs and camps designed to meet the needs of children requiring care during the summer months or while schools are closed due to certain holidays. Many of these programs take place on the premises of the child’s school and many of them do not require a license. As with the other centers, however, it’s best to do your due diligence in order to determine if a license is needed for that particular facility.

4. Kindergarten

In most areas of Canada, kindergarten is a part of the public school system and is therefore regulated by the provincial government. If your child attends kindergarten while you work, you can feel safe keeping them there during the day. If you’re still not convinced, go online and research the school before making your final decision, but in the vast majority of cases, this is a safe place for your child to be while you work.

5. Regulated In-Home Daycare Facilities

In-home daycare providers are plentiful, and most provinces and territories require no license as long as the provider doesn’t keep more than the maximum number of children. It can be difficult to choose a good in-home provider because they don’t have to be regulated, monitored, or approved in many areas of the country. That changes, of course, once the number of children exceeds the minimum, so make sure that you research these facilities carefully.

6. Unregulated In-Home Daycare Facilities

Many in-home childcare situations simply don’t require a license, and this includes the hiring of nannies, sitters, au pairs, etc. If the care is provided in the caregiver’s or the child’s home, it is very likely able to operate legally without a license. Not only are they not regulated but they are usually not inspected or monitored, nor do they have to meet certain requirements for training or minimum space requirements, among other things. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t good facilities, but you’ll need to do your due diligence to make sure that they’re safe.

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