Additional Child Care Operator Resources

Through various consultations with early years operators and the release of “How Does Learning Happen?” it has been identified that in order to provide an increasingly responsive high quality early childhood program, it was necessary to create a new approach to reflect and measure the individual goals of our centres, recognizing that each centre has a unique set of strengths and challenges.

System priorities

System priorities can be described as a tool to identify a centre’s needs by reflecting on current practices and views and encouraging the adoption of new ideas. 

Licensed home and centre based child care programs are advised to use the document named “How Does Learning Happen?” as a resource for the purpose of guiding their programming.  As a result, we have aligned system priorities with the Early Years Community Plan to help operators identify areas in their program that can be improved through critical reflection, discussion and work towards achieving their organizational goals.

These four system priorities are to be used as a reference for operators:

  1. Quality
  2. Sustainability
  3. Accessibility
  4. Integration

High-quality early years child care programs that foster children’s learning and development is a key component that will establish positive, responsive relationships with children and their families.  Therefore, we expect that all contracted child care operators participate in the City of Hamilton’s Early Years Quality Program. 

The purpose of the quality assured priority is to help facilitate early childhood educators in developing high-quality programs that support children, parents and the early years environment and work toward achieving the goals for children’s learning, development, health and well-being.  

Role of CMSM Role of Operator
Provide professional learning opportunities Recruit and retain highly skilled and qualified educators
Develop quality initiatives based on best practices Participate in local quality initiatives
Monitor the Child Care Licensing System and work with operators to ensure compliance Create a program statement that is consistent with the Minister’s policy statement on programming and pedagogy
Determine funding allocations for child care operators The document “How Does Learning Happen?” is to be used as the framework to guide and develop licensed child care programs
Promote opportunities to engage with various organizations e.g. ASCY, College of ECE, Mohawk College Provide developmentally appropriate and evidence-based learning environments, resources, and curriculum

Develop local policies that align with provincial legislative framework and meet local needs

Follow provincial legislation, regulations and directives
Provide understanding of what funding is available Notify City of Hamilton immediately when a provisional license is received
Work with Ministry of Education, Program Advisors to develop action plans in response to the Licensing Terms and Conditions Work with City of Hamilton to develop action plan
Work collaboratively with operators to ensure professional learning opportunities align with work plan  
Inform and approve ASCY work plan  

Building a sustainable child care system ensures the City of Hamilton can continue to offer high quality child care programs with well-established community relationships and knowledge of local needs. Adapting to changing demographics and market demands requires research, planning and the development of a business and/or marketing plan that addresses potential barriers and opportunities for improvement. 

The purpose of the sustainability priority is to assist child care operators in re-evaluating their current business model and operations and to incorporate new ideas and strategies to build a sustainable business that is responsive to the needs in the community.  

Role of CMSM Role of Operator
Provide tools and training to support operators with: business planning, meetings, work plan templates Adopt annual business plans that show demand for child care and quality that aligns with costs
Ensure operators know what funding they are eligible for (One-time, transformation, capital retrofits expense, health & safety etc.) Have strong organizational governance
Monitor vacancy reports Have strong financial management practices
Create Early Years Community Plan Be responsive to changes in the child care market
  Have a balanced budget

An accessible child care program provides an early learning environment which minimizes the barriers for families accessing child care.  A child and family centred approach which is responsive to the local needs in the community creates a sense of inclusiveness that encourages operators and parents to participate in community initiatives.

The purpose of the accessibility priority is to assist child care operators in creating an early learning environment which minimizes the barriers for families accessing child care.

Role of CMSM Role of Operator
Provide an understanding of the demand for child care in the City of Hamilton to help influence decision making efforts (funding and contractual decisions) Provide fee subsidized spaces
Development of Waitlist Strategy Have an updated and current OneHSN Child Care Registry profile
Manage Special Needs Resourcing supports Minimize barriers to child care services for parents
Lead and develop community initiatives that align with the Early Years Community Plan Provide inclusive early learning and care environments (e.g. AODA, Health and Safety Policies and Procedures, space for physical activity in/out doors etc.)

Building strong connections and partnering with other service providers across the early years system creates a strong integrated relationship.  By engaging parents and children and communicating with them using multiple means helps to establish and maintain positive reciprocal relationships.  This integrated approach requires the adoption of the Ontario Early Years Policy framework which moves towards an increasingly seamless service experience for children and families.

The purpose of the integration priority is to building strong connections and encouraging partnering with other services providers across the early years system.

Role of CMSM Role of Operator
Create opportunities and participate in consultation sessions and committees Partner and link to other service providers across the early years system
Help develop policies and procedures that support a seamless transition e.g. Referral pathways, school boards, special needs Engage parents/children
  Seamlessly transition children (home to child care to school)
  Embrace and adopt the City of Hamilton Early Years Community Plan
  Participate in community initiatives (e.g. Children’s Charter, Parent Charter and Parent and Family Engagement Framework)

Early Years Quality Program

The Hamilton Early Years Quality Program is a framework and process to guide continuous quality assurance for organizations providing early years programs through Funding Agreements with the City of Hamilton.  The purpose of the program is to collectively make Hamilton the best place to raise a child and the best place to be a child, by cultivating high quality early years programs and services where children, families and educators are viewed as capable and competent.

The program consists of:

Participation in the new quality program is mandatory for all licensed child care operators that currently have a funding agreement with the City of Hamilton.

For more information on the Hamilton Early Years Quality Program, please contact Supervisor of Child Care System Support at 905-546-2424 x 3091 or email


Special needs resourcing

Licensed child care providers are expected to provide high quality, accessible and inclusive child care services. The City of Hamilton funds Community Living Hamilton to provide resource teacher and support facilitator staffing supports to licensed child care programs.

Together, they will use common tools to support the classroom and support seamless transitions for families and children to child care and school.

The City’s therapeutic coordinators are responsible for intake and referral phone 905-546-2424 Ext. 4872 or email

Serious occurrences

All licensed child care programs are required to report all serious occurrences as defined by the Ministry of Education within 24 hours of the occurrence as outlined in the Children Care and Early Years Act (CCEYA).

Operators will report online using the Child Care Licensing Portal (One-Key Portal).

All serious occurrence reports will automatically be forwarded to the City of Hamilton child care services management once submitted to the child care licensing system.  Child care services management staff will follow up with operators as deemed necessary.

View reporting requirements Serious Occurrence Reporting Guidelines.

Provisional licenses

When a provisional license is issued child care operators are to notify the City of Hamilton child care services management and review the plan for compliance and City of Hamilton will assist and support development.

Full-Day kindergarten

Effective September 2016 no funding will be provided for full time kindergarten spaces.  Fee subsidy will not be available for 4 or 5-year-olds to attend full time child care during the school year. 

Starting a licensed child care program

To learn about how to set up a licensed child care program in Ontario visit the Ministry of Education website to learn more about licensing requirements.

Login or register for Ontario’s Child Care Portal and Child Care Licensing System using the ONe-key login page to submit an application for a license.

To find out more information about child care services in Hamilton contact Alexandra Madjercic, Supervisor of Child Care System Support at phone 905-546-2424 Ext. 3091 or email to discuss a needs assessment.

Once your program has been licensed you may be interested in applying for a Funding Agreement with the City of Hamilton.  Funding agreements enable your program to provide child care to families receiving fee subsidy and entitle your program to apply for various funding opportunities.

Learn more about how to apply for a funding agreement.

Average daily rates

The City of Hamilton has Funding Agreement with over 77 organizations who operate approximately 208 centre based licensed child care programs. The City conducts an annual review with these operators - part of that review is a salary survey and a per diem rate review. 

Position Description Average hourly base rate* Average hourly rate with wage subsidy**
Supervisor Holds administrative and/or teaching duties, and is the approved supervisor by the Ministry of Education (EDU). $20.10 $23.40
Registered Early Childhood Educator Meets the requirements determined by the College of Early Childhood Educators and is registered as such with the College. $15.34 $18.68
Other classroom staff Holds classroom duties, but is not a registered ECE. $13.87 $15.66

*Base Rate: The hourly rate a child care organization pays to an employee without subsidies or benefits included.
**This includes General Operating Funding to Support Wages and Memorandum of Settlement (MOS) Pay Equity. It does not include the new provincial wage enhancement grant.  Information collected as of June 2016.

Age group Average market rate* Average municipal rate*
Infant full day $61.35 $59.68
Toddler full day $47.42 $46.23
Preschool full day $40.78 $39.22
Kindergarten full day $39.81 $38.12
Kindergarten before and after school $21.03 $19.78
School age before and after school $19.28 $18.76
School age full day $37.44 $36.62

*Information collected as of June 2016

Child care operator wait list policies

New requirements were introduced under the Child Care and Early Years Act (CCEYA) banning licensed child care centres and home child care agencies from charging fees in order for a child to be placed onto a wait list for their service.  In addition, effective January 1, 2017 all licensed child care centres and home child care agencies are required to have a wait list policy included in their parent hand books.

More information about wait list policies.

Early Years Community Plan

The Hamilton Early Years Community Plan (EYCP) 2016-2020 outlines the strategic priorities and recommended goals for the Hamilton early year system over the next five years.  It builds on a decade of collective leadership in planning and implementing a comprehensive system of services and supports for children and families.

Community Resources

Local Networks & Organizations

Key information

Program & Curriculum Supports

The Hamilton Child Care Registry Operator Resources

Operators with a Funding Agreement with the City of Hamilton can visit the Hamilton Child Care Registry Administration Site to access resources to assist in navigating the registry and manage centre waiting lists.