Financial Support for Child Care
How to get government subsidies and grants to help you pay for child care or to support children with special needs.
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Ontario child care fee subsidy
Families can apply for the Ontario child care fee subsidy. The cost of this program is shared by the Ontario government, municipal governments and First Nations communities.
You can apply if your child is under 13 years old (or up to 18 years old if your child has special needs and meets other criteria*) and in either:
- a licensed child care program (centre-based, home-based or in-home services)
- a child enrolled in a “children's recreation program”
- a camp
- a before- and after-school program operated directly by a school board
*Note: The Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 (CCEYA) came into effect on August 31, 2015. While the CCEYA defines “child” as a person who is younger than 13 years of age, children with special needs who entered the child care system before August 31, 2017 may be eligible to receive funding and financial assistance under the CCEYA until they reach 18 years of age, provided that they meet other eligibility criteria that is unrelated to age.
The amount you pay for child care depends on your family's adjusted net income.
To calculate your net income:
- take your net income amount on line 236 of the Canada Revenue Agency personal income tax form
- any federal Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) payments (the UCCB is not considered in determining a family's child care fee subsidy)
How to apply
The Ministry of Education provides funding for fee subsidies. To apply for the child care subsidy or to get more information about this program, please contact your local:
- Consolidated Municipal Service Managers (CMSMs)/District Social Services Administration Boards (DSSABs)
- Local band office administrator (for First Nations)
Ontario Child Benefit
The Ontario Child Benefit (OCB) helps low-to-moderate income families – whether they are working or not – to provide for their children.
Depending on your family income, you may qualify for the OCB, if you:
- are the primary caregiver of a child under 18
- are a resident of Ontario
- have filed and had assessed your previous year's income tax return, and so has your spouse or common-law partner, and
- have registered your child for the federal Canada Child Tax Benefit
How to apply
There is no application required for the OCB.
Canada Child Benefit
The Canada Child Benefit is a tax-free monthly payment. It helps families pay for the costs of raising children under the age of 18.
Children with special needs
Children with special needs, as defined under the CCEYA, may require personalized attention and activities or special devices, toys and equipment.
Special Needs Resourcing (SNR) helps support the inclusion of children with special needs in licensed child care settings, in a premises where in-home services are provided, in a place where child and family programs are provided such as EarlyON Child and Family Centres, children's recreation programs, and camps at no additional cost to parents.
How it works
The government provides funding to Consolidated Municipal Service Managers (CMSMs) or District Social Services Administration Boards (DSSABs) and First Nations for SNR. They then either directly hire persons providing SNR services and/or provide funding to agencies, to support the inclusion of children with special needs in licensed child care, -child and family programs, children's recreation programs, and camps.
Agencies use this funding to help pay for staff, equipment, supplies, and professional development activities.
For more information, contact your CMSMs/DSSAB or band office administrator (for First Nations with provincial child care contracts).
School boards are responsible for providing supports to enable inclusion of children with special needs in board-operated before-and after-school programs.
For more support
Find out about resources in your area for children with special needs by contacting your local:
- Consolidated Municipal Service Manager (CMSM) or District Social Services Administration Board (DSSAB)
- Band office administrator (for First Nations with provincial child care contracts)
There are also supports for school-aged children with special needs or for children with developmental disabilities.