Rules for child care and early years programs

The Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 (CCEYA) establishes the rules for child care and early years programs and services in Ontario to:

  • support the health and safety of children
  • provide for oversight of providers
  • help parents make informed choices about child care options

There are additional rules for operating child care and early years programs during COVID‑19.

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Program requirements

Learn the rules for different kinds of children's programs.

Home-based child care

How many children are allowed in home child care

Find out how many children licensed home child care and unlicensed child care providers are allowed to care for.

Operate a licensed child care program

Learn about the rules and requirements to operate a child care program in Ontario.

Centre-based child care

Operate a licensed child care program

Learn about the rules and requirements to operate a child care program in Ontario.

Test yourself on the Child Care and Early Years Act

Test your knowledge and understanding of the licensing requirements for child care centres.

School programs, recreation programs and day camps

Before and after school programs

Learn about before and after school programs for children in kindergarten to Grade 6.

Recreation programs

Find information for parents and providers about recreation programs for children, including authorized recreational and skill building programs.

Day camps

Learn about the rules for day camps and the penalties if camp providers don't follow the rules.

Early years

EarlyON Child and Family Centres

Learn more about programs and services provided by EarlyON Child and Family Centres, and how to find EarlyON locations.

Early years accommodations in schools

Read the early years accommodations in schools reference guide. Get information about early years programs operating in schools, including accommodation costs, agreements and partnerships.

Early childhood educators

Early childhood educators qualifications upgrade program

Apply for grants to help upgrade your qualifications for working in child care and early years programs through this program.

Professional learning resources

Learn about the four foundations that are important for children's wellbeing and healthy development.

Register with the College of Early Childhood Educators (ECEs)

If you have an ECE qualification, and are planning, delivering and assessing play-based programs for children, you must register with the college of ECEs.

The Early Childhood Educators Act

Read the legislation that regulates the practice of early childhood education in Ontario.

Support children's emotional well-being

Engaging in responsive relationships and supporting children's emotional well-being is as important as ensuring their health and safety. How does learning happen? Ontario's pedagogy for the early years is a resource that focuses on learning and development through relationships, and outlines goals for children and expectations for programs based on the four foundations of belonging, wellbeing, engagement and expression. Building on How Does Learning Happen? Pedagogical Approaches to Re-opening Early Years and Child Care Programs in Ontario shares ideas, questions and lessons to consider during the COVID‑19 pandemic.

Find information and resources about COVID-19 in Ontario.

Annual reports

Early Years and Child Care Annual Reports describe the early years and child care system, including key data and measures for licensed child care and EarlyON Child and Family Centres.