Operating child care and early years settings

All child care and early years settings must:

  • meet all operational requirements set out under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 (CCEYA) (for example, ensure that all existing staff to child ratios are maintained)
  • meet all enhanced health and safety requirements set out by the Ministry of Education and the local public health unit, where applicable
  • ensure staff are trained on all enhanced public health and safety protocols

Learn more about the rules and requirements for operating a child care program in Ontario.

How child care is operating

Licensed child care centres and licensed home-based child care services are open and must follow all health and safety measures.

Camps that operate over the summer can open if they follow the safety guidelines (PDF).

Health and safety measures

Child care and early years providers must:

  • Create a covid 19 (coronavirus) response plan: All child care and early years settings must have a plan in place if a child, parent, staff member or child care provider is exposed to covid 19.
  • Practice physical distancing: Children and staff or providers must stay in group sizes outlined in the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 and should not mix with other groups of children.
  • Wear a mask and eye protection: All staff and providers are required to wear medical masks and eye protection. Children in Grades 1 and above are required to wear non-medical masks or face coverings.
  • Screen for symptoms: Everyone must be screened before they enter the premises. Anyone experiencing a covid 19 symptom (not related a covid 19 vaccine) or feeling unwell must stay home. Home child care providers feeling unwell cannot offer service.
  • On-site screening: Staff must show daily confirmation of covid 19 self-screening before they enter the child care setting.
  • Log daily attendance: Child care and early years providers must keep daily records of everyone entering the premises to help support contact tracing.
  • Clean frequently: Child care and early years providers must thoroughly clean the space, toys and equipment frequently and regularly, according to public health advice.
  • No non-essential visitors: Non-essential visitors are not allowed to enter the premises.
  • Create child care drop-off and pick-up protocols: Child care providers must establish drop-off and pick-up protocols that facilitate physical distancing.

Local public health units have the authority to proactively close child care and early years settings in their areas.

Speak to your provider if you have questions about their health and safety procedures.

Get child care

If you are a parent or guardian interested in accessing child care, contact a child care provider to get more details.

We recognize it may be difficult for some families to find child care. We will continue to work with partners to support access to child care.

Child care and early years providers and agencies

We depend on the authority and discretion of service system managers to:

  • plan, manage and coordinate child care within your region
  • make decisions about access to child care that best support the needs of your community

We have developed operational guidance to support the early years and child care sector on operating during the covid 19 pandemic:

If you're a child care or early years provider, you can call your local Consolidated Municipal Service Manager or District Social Services Administration Board for more information.


Updated: July 13, 2021
Published: July 08, 2021