The City of Hamilton is responsible for the administration of child care fee subsidies to eligible families with children ages 0 to 12 who require financial support with their child care expenses.
All child care operators in a funding agreement with the City of Hamilton are required to accept families in receipt of child care fee subsidy to ensure equitable access to high quality child care programs across the city.
Program overview & Hamilton child care registry requirements
In order to be deemed eligible for child care fee subsidy parents/guardians must first meet financial eligibility and have an approved reason to required child care. All applicants must live in Hamilton, have status in Canada (persons with work permits/student visas are not eligible) and meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Must be working or attending school a minimum of 20 hours/week
- Participating in approved employment assistance activities through Ontario Works
- Received approval through the child care services referral process
All applicants searching for child care are required to register with the Hamilton Child Care Registry. The registry is used to communicate a family’s application status for fee subsidy. For any new children starting care at a centre, operators are to send a confirmation of space form through The Hamilton Child Care Registry once a child care space becomes available.
Once the confirmation of space form is received, a child’s placement authorization form is sent from the child care subsidy eligibility worker to the child care centre by email, fax or mail. This serves as confirmation of eligibility for subsidy and care for the child may begin.
The number of hours approved for care is based on the parent’s situation. Dates of eligibility are noted on the child’s placement authorization form. The parental contribution may change throughout the life of the case. A new placement authorization will be issued when the amount a parent/guardian must pay changes and/or the dates of eligibility change.
Monthly parental contribution fees are collected by the centre and monthly invoices are reconciled for payment through the Ontario Child Care Management System (OCCMS) Record of Attendance (ROA).
Operators with a funding agreement must comply with data requests from City staff and honour the rate of subsidy according to the placement authorization.
OCCMS Record of Attendance
OCCMS technology creates a monthly web-based record of attendance (ROA) for all operators to report the daily attendance of each fee subsidy child enrolled in the child care centre. The fee subsidy rate minus the parental contribution for a subsidized child must be paid by an invoice generated in the OCCMS Web Record of Attendance.
Records of attendance (ROA) are available for validation by the first day of each month. Once the ROA is received, each child must be validated. Operators are to select the appropriate code for each child whether the child is present, absent, sick or on vacation.
If there are children missing from the ROA, the operator must request the missing child to be added on to the ROA by contacting the child care system support team at firstname.lastname@example.org prior to its completion. Once the changes are complete, the ROA will be resent to the operator. All records are to be validated within five business days and sent back to the child care system support team for reconciliation and payment.
For any questions or concerns contact:
Child Care System Support Team
Phone: 905-546-2424 Ext 5126
Office hours: Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
The child care fee subsidy program permits a child to be absent from a centre due to illness, vacation and unexpected absences.
Children are assigned a set number of absence limits depending on when in the calendar year the child’s first placement began. Parents/guardians are advised of their entitlement during their subsidy appointment and are made aware that they are responsible for fees incurred beyond these limits.
When a child is sick or absent for five or more days in a month operators are to make a comment on the Record of Attendance to explain the reason for the absence. In addition if a child has five consecutive unexplained absences notification should be sent to the appropriate subsidy eligibility worker. Child care fee subsidy may be terminated or the number of approved days per week reduced if a child fails to attend on a regular basis.
If a family has had extenuating circumstances that have led to absences the operator should discuss the situation with the family to determine if a request for additional days is warranted. The Request Increase to Sick/Absent Days Form (PDF, 180 KB) should be submitted for consideration prior to a family exhausting their allowable absences limits. Supporting documentation may be required.
The request for sick/absent days form can be completed by either the operator or parent/guardian and submitted to the appropriate subsidy eligibility worker for review. The subsidy eligibility worker will inform the child care operator if additional days for that calendar year have been approved.
Withdrawal, transfers & breaks in service
Withdrawals by parent/guardian
Parents/guardians who wish to transfer their children to another child care centre will provide their current child care provider with a minimum of two weeks notice. It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to inform their subsidy eligibility worker of any changes in their child care arrangements. However if a subsidy eligibility worker does not verify their knowledge of the withdrawal operators are to report the withdrawal through the OCCMS Record of Attendance.
Withdrawal/termination of child care fee subsidy by subsidy eligibility worker
The placement authorization form serves as confirmation of eligibility for subsidy and dates of eligibility are noted on this form. Families receiving child care subsidy are required to have their subsidy reviewed annually and a new placement authorization is revised following the appointment.
If a child care operator is not notified of an extension beyond the end date on the placement authorization it should be presumed that care will end and sufficient notice has been provided.
The dates of eligibility may end sooner than the dates on the original placement authorization form. In this situation, child care operators will receive a new placement authorization form providing a period of five days’ notice of termination/withdrawal.
If a child remains in care following the placement end date it is the responsibility of the child care operator to discuss payment arrangements with the parent/guardian. Subsidy will not be paid beyond the placement end date.
Discharge by child care operator
If a child care operator discharges a child from their centre, or if care is unavailable for another reason the notice period is waived and the operator is not entitled to payment beyond the actual days attended, nor is the client responsible for any additional payment.
Breaks in service
A break in service permits the parents/guardians to keep their eligibility for child care fee subsidy while not actively receiving it. Reinstatement of child care fee subsidy must be approved by a subsidy eligibility worker. Parents/guardians whom require reinstatement of child care fee subsidy must be engaged in an approved activity and meet all eligibility requirements.
Siblings may continue to receive child care fee subsidy up until the beginning of the maternity/parental leave. If medical complications arise and the pregnancy/parental leave begins earlier, medical documentation is required. Prior approval is required from a subsidy eligibility worker if a child is to remain in subsidized care.
In the event a parent/guardian needs to take a medical leave from their work or school, eligibility for child care fee subsidy can be extended for up to three months. A doctor’s note must be provided by the parent/guardian to verify they are unable to work or attend school due to a medical reason. The note should provide the estimated length of time the leave is expected to last. All situations are reviewed and approved by the supervisor or manager.
In the event the medical leave is anticipated to extend past the three month period the parent/guardian may consider having a child care services referral submitted for review.
Child care services referral
A child care services referral is required if:
- If child care is required due to the special needs of a child or
- If the parent/guardian is unable to care for the child due to illness or disability or
- There is a high-risk family situation
Referrals must be submitted for review by the therapeutic coordinators to determine eligibility prior to an application for child care fee subsidy being completed.
The referral must be completed by one of the following approved professionals:
- Family Physician
- Public Health
- Resource Teachers
- Support Facilitator
- Children’s Aid Society workers
- Speech and Language Pathologist
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