Your Guide To Early Learning And Child Care In Canada

Though Canada has one of the highest salaries in the world, the high cost of living means nearly all adults work. The result is people use child care to look after their young children. As well as looking after the child while the parent is at work, child care offers additional benefits. By attending childcare, children can interact with other children and adults, which helps them with early learning and development. This article looks at early learning and childcare options available to you. 

Early Learning And Childcare In Canada

The Types Of Child Care Available In Canada

There are many different types of options available for child care in Canada. It will include the following:

  • Before & after school programs, 
  • Day care centers
  • Nannies
  • Preschool programs, and 
  • Home daycares

The types of daycare will include both part-time and full-time. In Canada, child care falls under two categories: regulated and unregulated. Let’s look at what this means.

Childcare That’s Regulated 

These childcare facilities are licensed, monitored, and regulated by the territorial and provincial authorities. Services falling under this remit include preschools, nursery schools, full-day center-based child care, child care in the home, and child care for school ages.  

Childcare That’s Unregulated 

These are services offered in the home of a caregiver or the child’s home (by babysitters or nannies). The services are not licensed, monitored, or regulated by official authorities. The parents must decide on the facilitator’s suitability and whether they can provide more than the basic requirements.  

Childcare Costs

Except in Quebec, childcare costs are generally expensive in Canada. The costs also depend on whether the child is a:

  • Infant (less than 2 years old),
  • Toddler (age range starts at the minimum age of 18 months and up to 3 years),
  • Preschool age (between 2.5 years and kindergarten age which is 4 and 5 years old, depending on the province).

The Canadian government has been working hard to reduce childcare fees aiming to bring the cost down to $10 nationwide by 2026. As part of the scheme, many provinces have already seen costs slashed by 50% by the end of 2022. In Quebec, for 2023, the fees are subsidized, and the costs are fixed at C$8.45 per day regardless of where the child care occurs. The child care costs for infants are the highest, while preschool age is the lowest. 

Typically in Toronto, the cost for full-time infant daycare in 2023 is around $25. It is an improvement from previous years when it would have cost twice as much.


Unfortunately, child care facilities, especially childrens day care is not available in abundant quantities. As a result, many childcare services operate on a waitlist basis. It often leads to parents seeking to get on the waitlist even when the mother is pregnant. Some centres require the parent to pay to be on the waitlist, varying from C$50 to C$200. It is not uncommon for parents to get on the waitlist for multiple centers to gain the earliest possible access.  

Canadian Child Benefit

The Canadian federal government offers all parents access to the Canadian Child Benefit program. The benefits help parents to raise their children. It offers a maximum amount of C$6,997 for children under 6. Many parents use this benefit to pay for the cost of childcare. 

How To Find Suitable Childcare?

There are many different types of childcare services in Canada. Finding a provider that meets your specific requirements would be best. For instance, if you work outside the 9 to 5 office hours, you will want a provider available during those times. Or you may wish to have a provider near your place of work or home

The best place to start is your province or city’s Ministry of Education website. It will provide an extensive list of regulated providers in your area. 

For more informal care, such as a nanny in your home, you will need to check out various job boards, ask other parents for recommendations, or search online. With unlicensed people, you must take extra care to ensure the chosen service provider is suitable.

Childcare Is Becoming Affordable In Canada

Nearly all adults in Canada work, meaning they must utilize childcare providers. But the costs are an issue. It was common, certainly in the past, for parents to spend as much as C$1600 per month in provinces such as Ontario. Luckily, the Canadian government is working hard to subsidize the costs. By 2026, all childcare throughout Canada will not cost more than C$10 per day.

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