Licensed Child Care


Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care System

Child Care

How to apply for licensed child care and approved recreation services.


Finding and applying to licensed child care programs for your child is done online through the District of Nipissing Child Care Waitlist Registry.

The registry will guide you through the process of creating your account and adding your child/children. It will show you all available licensed early learning and child care options for children from infancy up to 12 years of age. 

For more information on the types of services and age groups included, click here to download our licensed child care programs infographic.

You can also click here for a list of all licensed child care and authorized recreation programs in the District of Nipissing.


  1. Access the Waitlist Registry to sign up and create an account, or login if you already have an account and need to make changes.
  2. Follow the steps to apply for child care programs that best meet the needs of your child and family.
  3. Once space is available, a child care provider will contact you directly to advise you of the next steps.
  4. If you think you may require child care fee subsidy to help pay for your child care costs, please apply via the Child Care Fee Subsidy page on our website to determine your eligibility.

For step-by-step instructions on using the Child Care Waitlist Registry, click below to download the Parent Manual.

Child Care Waitlist Registry Parent Manual
educator sitting at the table with young children in a daycare setting


When you select a child care centre, you will only see the age group that your child is eligible for based on your preferred start date. If your child changes age groups (e.g. moves from infant age to toddler age) before they receive a child care space, the system will automatically move them up to the correct group and will maintain their priority on the list.

However, when your child will be starting school and will need before school, after school, and/or PD day care, you will need to add your child’s name to those lists directly. In order to do so, you will need to add an application with a preferred start date for when your child will be starting school.


Please note, the Registry is managed by each child care provider following their own admission and waitlist policies. Once a space is available, a child care provider will contact you directly to advise you of the next steps. You can contact the child care providers directly to check your child’s status/placement on their list.

Already have licensed child care?

We want to hear from you!
checkmark beside a happy face on a survey asking for feedback


The purpose of this survey is to gather feedback pertaining to licensed child care and authorized recreation programs based on the values of responsiveness, accessibility, inclusiveness and high quality. The survey is for parents and caregivers with children enrolled in licensed child care and authorized recreation programs in the District of Nipissing.

Click on the button below to respond to our survey in either English or French.

Licensed Child Care Survey


Common questions about licensed child care

When child care settings are licensed, they are regulated to ensure high standards of safety and quality. This means your children will benefit from a positive atmosphere in a safe environment where staff interact with children in a variety of fun and inviting activities.

Licensed child care agencies must meet and maintain specific provincial standards.  The Child Care and Early Years Act (CCEYA) regulates all licensed child care settings. The CCEYA sets provincial safety and quality standards in many areas such as staff-to-child ratios, safe playgrounds, establishing healthy eating and sleeping habits as well as age-specific play areas.

The Program Advisors from the Child Care Quality Licensing Branch with the Ministry of Education are responsible for monitoring compliance within licensed child care programs.

In Ontario, anyone who cares for more than five unrelated children under the age of 10 years has to be licensed by the Ministry of Education. Licensed child care providers have to meet certain provincial health, safety and caregiver training standards.

To learn about the differences between licensed (formal) and unlicensed (informal) child care, visit the Ontario Ministry of Education’s page on finding child care.

You can also view this infographic on licensed home child care and unlicensed child care permitted ratios. 

The Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 is the legislation that replaced the Day Nurseries Act (DNA) and established new rules governing child care in Ontario.

The Child Care and Early Years Act (CCEYA) regulates all licensed child care settings. The CCEYA sets provincial safety and quality standards in many areas such as staff-to-child ratios, safe playgrounds, establishing healthy eating and sleeping habits as well as age-specific play areas.

Child Care Centres – Centre-based programs provide care to a number of children in a specially designed environment. In the Nipissing District, many are now located in schools to help children with the transition to school and to allow families to be in a familiar and easy-to-access environment. Hours will vary offering full day, part day, before & after school programs, weekend or extended evening hours.

Home-Based Child Care – This type of care is regulated in the same way licensed child care centres are. An agency contracts with individuals to provide care in their own home. A home visitor makes sure these providers meet the requirements of the legislation and receive adequate training and resources. Hours will vary offering full day, part day, before & after school programs, extended evening hours, holidays and up to 24 hours a day care.

Authorized recreation programs are those whose primary purpose is to provide child care but also include, as a complementary purpose, activities that promote recreational, artistic, musical, or athletic skills or provide religious, culture or linguistic instruction.  

Authorized Recreation Programs Fact Sheet

Licensed child care programs employ Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs) who study child development, curriculum development and behaviour management. The two-year ECE diploma also includes child care placements.  Early Childhood Educators are also registered with the College of Early Childhood Educators.

Qualified RECEs are instrumental in establishing a warm and stimulating environment for your child.  Home child care centres have carefully screened, approved and supported providers who keep current with early childhood education development issues and trends.

The public register informs parents, employers and the public if an RECE is a member of the College. Providing this information assures the public that individuals practicing the profession of early childhood education are qualified, competent and accountable.   

The College can help if you want to find out more information about the ethical and professional standards that guide our members, registered early childhood educators. Find out what to do if you have a concern about an RECE. 

You can also read their annual reports online.

How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years is a professional learning resource for those working in child care and child and family programs. It supports pedagogy and program development in early years settings that is shaped by views about children, the role of educators and families, and the relationships among them. It builds on foundational knowledge about children and is grounded in new research and leading-edge practice from around the world.

How Does Learning Happen? inspires critical reflection and discussion among those who work with children and their families in early years settings. It includes goals for children, expectations for programs and questions for reflection that provide a starting point for thinking about the types of environments, experiences, and interactions that bring out the best in children, families and educators. It will help to strengthen the quality of early years programs and services across Ontario as we explore together, how learning happens.

Children in licensed child care centres are usually grouped according to their age.

  • Infant: is a child under 18 months of age.
  • Toddler:  is a child from 18 months to 30 months (2 ½ years old).
  • Preschool:  is a child from 2½ years up to and including 5 years old.
  • Junior kindergarten: is a child 3½ years of age or over and up to and including 5 ½ years old as of August 31 of the year, who is eligible to attend junior kindergarten.
  • Senior kindergarten: is a child 4½ years of age or over and up to and including 5½ years old as of August 31 of the year, who is eligible to attend senior kindergarten.
  • School Age: is a child 5½ years of age or over as of August 31 of the year (who is eligible for grade one attendance) and up to 12 years old.

With Mixed Age Groupings, up to 20% of children in one age group can be combined with another age group. This occurs to allow children from one age group to transition into the next older age group and to allow for family groupings.

The Child Care and Early Years Act (CCEYA) sets out child-to-staff ratios that must be followed at all times. The younger the children, the lower the child-to-staff ratio will be.

Staff to Child Ratios

Licensed child care centres must meet the following minimum staff-to-child ratios.  They may choose to have more staff but may not have less staff than set out below.

Age Group Age Range Ratio of staff to children Max # children in group
Infants  < 18 months 3 to 10 10
Toddlers 18 to 30 months 1 to 5 15
Preschool 30 months to 6 years 1 to 8 24
Kindergarten 44 months to 7 years 1 to 13 26
Primary/Junior School Age 68 months to 13 years 1 to 15 30
Junior School Age 9 to 13 years 1 to 20 20

Choosing licensed child care gives children access to quality programming, school readiness and a range of community supports. Though the cost may at first seem expensive, the rates for licensed child care gradually get lower as children get older. 

The table below represents median child care rates in the District of Nipissing (as of December 2021).

Centre-Based Child Care Daily Cost per Child Monthly Cost per Child* Annual Cost per Child
Infant $ 47.00 $ 1,022.25 $ 12,267.00
Toddler $41.00 $ 891.75 $ 10,701.00
Preschool $ 39.25 $ 853.69 $ 12,244.25
School Age $ 38.00 $ 826.50 $ 9,918.00
Before School $ 8.75 $ 190.31 $ 2,283.75
After School $ 12.00 $ 261.00 $ 3,132.00
Before & After School $ 20.75 $ 451.31 $ 5,415.75
Half Day Rate for All Age Groups ** $ 35.00 $ 761.25 $ 9,135.00
Based on the district's median rate
*Based on the average 21.75 days of care per month
**6 hours or less


child care fee subsidy may be available to assist eligible families with the cost of their child care expenses.

Ongoing communication between you (the parent) and the caregiver is crucial to ensuring a successful child care arrangement. After a period of adjustment, your child should be able to make the transition from home to child care relatively easily. The centre should be providing support to you by discussing your child’s development and should recognize the parent as the primary caregiver.

Once you have found a quality program for your child, continue to observe and talk with the supervisor and/or caregiver to ensure that the program continues to meet the needs of your child and your family.

Your respect and trust will help to build a positive relationship with your child care staff or provider. This in turn will benefit your child when he/she is aware that both you and the child care provider have his/her best interests at heart. And you’ll benefit too, from the peace of mind knowing your child is receiving quality care.

It is important for parents to be informed when making decisions about child care.

Child care should be an enriching and satisfying experience for your child. You should always feel confident that your child is in a healthy, safe and happy environment.

If you have concerns about your child’s care, your first step is to talk to the staff or your caregiver. You should:

  • schedule a time with your caregiver to talk about your concerns (that way, both you and the staff or caregiver will be ready to talk)
  • be prepared and make notes ahead of time about your concerns
  • be clear about what’s being said (if you need clarification or have concerns about your caregiver’s response, ask him or her to explain it further)
  • arrange a follow-up meeting (if necessary)

Use the contact information below to report a complaint based on the type of care you are receiving.  When making a complaint, please include:

  • name of the child care centre or home child care agency
  • address of the child care centre, or location where licensed home child care is being provided
  • a description of your concern, including relevant dates and course of events
Licensed Care (centre or home) Unlicensed care
1-877-510-5333 1-844-516-6263


Parents should be aware that in Ontario, unlicensed child care providers are not regulated by the government. This means they are neither licensed nor inspected. However, the ministry does investigate all complaints from the public about child care providers who may be:

  • providing care to more than five unrelated children without a licence.
  • providing private-home day care at more than one private residence without a licence.

 For more information, visit the Ministry's website Make a child care complaint.

Check out our Parent Resources page for more information and links to other community organizations that may be of interest to you.