Unlicensed Child Care

Provisional vs. Regular License


Child care centres are issued two types of licenses:

  • A regular license: issued when a child care centre meets all the criteria needed under the Child Care and Early Years Act;

  • A provisional license, which is issued when a child care centre has not yet met all the criteria and is granted a provisional license on a temporary basis.


Note: our child care finder tool only includes child care centres with a regular license.

Unlicensed Home Child Care


The Ontario Government’s website states: “Unlicensed caregivers are not inspected by the Ministry of Education, and are not required to meet most provincial standards. However, the Ministry of Education does investigate all complaints from the public about child care providers who may be operating illegally.”


The rules for unlicensed home childcare operators are as follows:

  • Providers may care for a total of five children, including their own children, under the age of 4;

  • The maximum number of children under the age of 2 is three;

  • Parents must be provided with receipts for child care services;

  • Providers are required to allow parental access to the premises and their child, with some specific exceptions.


A good resource for locating home childcare is Daycare Bear.


Prices can vary by daycare but they are typically cheaper than traditional child care centres and most will not be approved to accept the city’s subsidy.