Child Care Subsidy
Child care subsidy is financial assistance that can help with the costs of child care.
A full subsidy pays for the cost of a space in a child care program. A partial subsidy covers a portion of the costs. In this case, the parent / guardian pays for some of the child care cost and Niagara Region pays the rest.
The amount of the subsidy is based on income level and confirmation of the reason for care.
For questions about your child care, contact your:
- Children's Services caseworker for subsidy questions
- Child care centre supervisor
- Home child care agency or advisors
3-step eligibility process
- Step 1 - Requirements
A confirmed child care space is needed.
For proof of income, you must provide:
- Your most recent Canada Revenue Agency Notice of Assessment, or
- Your most recent Canada Child Benefit and Ontario Child Benefit
If you're receiving Ontario Works funding, confirmation of Ontario Works eligibility will be discussed with your Ontario Works casemanager.
Step 2 - Reason for child care service
An approved reason for care must be provided. Applicants must be in one of the following categories:
- Attending school or a training program
- Step 3 - Meeting with a Children's Services fee subsidy worker
A meeting is scheduled once the pre-screen is completed and the requested documentation submitted.
Any changes to your reason for service or the hours for which you need child care must be reported to your Children's Services caseworker three business days from the date the change occurs.
To determine eligibility for fee subsidy and the amount of the parental contribution, the caseworker will complete an income test.
Parent / guardian contribution
If you receive a partial subsidy, the parent / guardian contribution is paid directly to the child care centre or home child care provider. Payments must be made on time as outlined by your child care service provider.
Your Children's Services caseworker will give you and the child care centre or home child care provider a Subsidized Child Care Approval Letter. This letter will outline the amount you must pay. The centre or child care provider will provide receipts for income tax purposes.
Failure to pay the parent / guardian contribution to the centre or provider may result in the loss of your child care service. Your payment start and end dates are based on your approval for subsidy.
When to report changes to your caseworker
To keep your child care subsidy, changes in your circumstances need to be reported within two business days to your Children's Services caseworker, including:
- Employment, school or training program - Your work, school or training program hours have increased or decreased or you're no longer employed or attending school or a training program
- Earnings, wages, income, financial status - Your household income, wages, income or financial status has increased or decreased
- Marital status of either parent / guardian or family size - You become married, separated from your partner, reconcile with your partner, enter a common-law relationship or if a child leaves or enters the family
- Contact information - You or your child move to a new residence or your phone number changes
- Ontario Works, Family Benefits, Ontario Disability Support Program - If you start or stop receiving one of these benefits or if someone is added to your benefit summary
- Immigrant status (as defined by Canada Immigration) - If there are any changes to your immigration status, you must notify your caseworker
To report changes, call 905-980-6000 or 1-800-263-7215 ext. 3897.
Child care program attendance
Some child care programs have policies about a child being absent or not showing up to the program. Talk to the child care program staff or home child care provider about their policies to understand your rights and responsibilities. Families receiving child care subsidy shouldn't have to pay additional costs to a child care program.
A limited number of absent days will be paid for. The number of absent days will be confirmed by your caseworker. Once the absent day allocations are used up, no additional days will be paid.
If your child is ill and unable to attend, contact the centre or provider and inform them of your child's illness.
If the service provider decides to close due to weather conditions, etc., absent days are not to be used as payment for closure.
Contact your Children's Services caseworker if:
- You're being asked to pay additional costs. Your Children's Services child care subsidy will pay for each day the child goes to the program, as approved by the Children's Services caseworker.
- Your child is absent more than three consecutive days or five days in a month
- You need to establish a plan that better meets your needs, including a possible break in service. Your caseworker can also provide more information about the Attendance Policy.
Parent / guardian contribution
- The parent / guardian contribution must be paid monthly
- Parents / guardians must pay their contribution to the child care centre or provider for any vacation or absent days, if applicable
- How to transfer your child to a different child care program
To transfer your child from one child program to another, you must:
- Call your Children's Services caseworker. Your caseworker will tell you about other child care programs that are available.
- Notify your current child care program before you move your child to another program
- Give two weeks' notice to the program your child is leaving
- Ensure your account is up to date
How to stop receiving child care subsidy
If you no longer need child care subsidy, contact your Children's Services caseworker and the child care centre or provider immediately. In most cases, you must provide two weeks notice to withdraw.
You're responsible for any fees owed to the child care centre or provider if you have failed to provide proper notice of withdrawal.
- What Children's Services does with your information?
The personal information required on your application for child care subsidy
is collected under the authority of the Ministry of Education and is used to determine eligibility for child care subsidy. It's kept private and confidential.
If you have questions about the collection of personal information, contact the Manager, Child Care Subsidy at:
- P.O. Box 344, 1815 Sir Isaac Brock Way, Thorold, ON L2V 4T7
- 905-980-6000 ext. 3897
- Reasons why you might have to repay child care subsidy
The amount of subsidy you receive is based on the information you provide. It's important to tell your Children's Services caseworker of any changes as soon as possible. Your child care subsidy may be withheld if you don't share new information.
In some cases, you may have to repay child care subsidy funding such as when the Children's Services caseworker determines that you:
- Weren't eligible for child care subsidy that's already been paid
- Weren't eligible for child care subsidy in the first place
- Further requests for information
From time to time, your Children's Services caseworker will send you letters or forms to complete. It's important that you reply and complete the forms.
Call your Children's Services caseworker if you have questions about the letters or forms. Failure to respond will result in termination of your child care subsidy.
- Annual review of assistance with child care costs
Your Parent / Guardian Roles and Responsibilities form will indicate when your child care subsidy will end. You'll be required to meet with your Children's Services caseworker if child care is needed beyond the end date. The caseworker will mail you a letter requesting a meeting. If you don't respond to the request for a meeting, your file will be closed.
- Appeal process for child care fee subsidy
You can appeal or question a decision that affects your child care subsidy at any time within 15 days of any written correspondence.
- Step 1 - Talk to your Children's Services caseworker
- Step 2 - Complete the Request for Appeal form and forward to the Children's
- Step 3 - After the Request for Appeal has been completed you'll be notified of the decision
- Make a child care complaint
To report a concern or complaint about a child care provider in Ontario, you can:
Talk to your caregiver
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 them to explain it further.
- Arrange a follow-up meeting, if necessary
Make a complaint about licensed care
To report a complaint about a licensed child care centre or private home day care agency:
- Call 1-877-510-5333
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org