Child Care Operators

Early Years System

City of Hamilton is currently in the GREY – LOCKDOWN within the Provincial COVID-19 Response Framework. As a result, all indoor and outdoor EarlyON Child and Family Centres are currently closed. Virtual programs continue to operate.


As part of the current Provincial shutdown measures, remote learning has been extended for school-aged elementary school students from January 11 to February 10, 2021 in Southern Ontario. As a result, the Ministry of Education and the City of Hamilton is providing targeted emergency child care for the children of designated essential workers during this period.

During this period, emergency child care services will be available for designated essential workers as defined by the Provincial eligibility requirements, who are not able to accommodate their school-aged child’s learning or care at home.

Free emergency child care is only available to school age children. Emergency child care is being provided by the three licensed home child care agencies in Hamilton. For more information on accessing this care, please contact one of these agencies:

  • An individual who is,
    • a regulated health professional, or
    • an unregulated health care provider working in health care delivery, either directly or indirectly.
  • A police officer as defined in the Police Services Act.
  • A special constable appointed pursuant to section 53 of the Police Services Act.
  • A member of a police force other than a police officer as defined in the Police Services Act.
  • A First Nations Constable appointed pursuant to section 54 of the Police Services Act or a member of a police service in which policing is delivered by First Nations Constables.
  • A provincial offences officer as defined in the Provincial Offences Act.
  • An individual employed as a firefighter as defined in the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997.
  • An individual who is,
    • engaged in providing fire protection services as defined in the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997,
    • employed in a fire department as defined in the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997, or
    • employed in the Office of the Fire Marshal and whose duties include being a fire investigator or supervising or managing fire investigators.
  • A paramedic as defined in the Ambulance Act.
  • A coroner as defined in the Coroners Act.
  • A worker in a correctional institution as defined in the Ministry of Correctional Services Act or an independent contractor who supplies services to correctional institutions, including, but not limited to, employees of Trilcor.
  • Probation and parole officers as described in the Ministry of Correctional Services Act, including institutional liaison officers, court liaison officers, individuals employed as assistant area managers and area managers of staff at probation and parole offices and the administrative and support staff at these offices.
  • An individual employed in the Institutional Services Division of the Ministry of the Solicitor General, including a person employed in a correctional institution as defined in section 1 of the Ministry of Correctional Services Act.
  • An individual employed in the Operational Support Division of the Correctional Services Recruitment and Training Centre in the Ministry of the Solicitor General who,
    • provides facilities or maintenance services, or
    • is a Senior Staff Development Officer or Manager of Customized Training.
  • An employee of Compass Group Canada Ltd. who works at or provides services in relation to the Cook Chill Food Production Centre.
  • An individual employed in the Ministry of the Solicitor General who performs one or more of the following functions for the Institutional Services Division or Community Services Division:
    • Performing electronic monitoring services.
    • Performing CPIC searches.
    • Preparing community supervision orders.
  • An individual employed in the Ministry of the Solicitor General at the Centre for Forensic Sciences who is involved in supporting and conducting forensic testing and analysis.
  • An individual employed in the Ministry of the Solicitor General at the Provincial Forensic Pathology Unit.
  • An individual employed in the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre or at the Ministry of the Solicitor General’s Emergency Operations Centre.
  • An animal welfare inspector appointed pursuant to the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act, 2019 or an individual employed by the Ministry of the Solicitor General in the Animal Welfare Services Branch who is directly involved in supporting animal welfare inspectors.
  • An individual employed in the operation of,
    • a place of secure custody designated under section 24.1 of the Young Offenders Act (Canada), whether in accordance with section 88 of the Youth Criminal Justice Act (Canada) or otherwise, or
    • a place of secure temporary detention as defined in subsection 2 (1) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017
  • Persons employed in the Direct Operated Facilities Branch of the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.
  • An individual who performs work that is essential to the delivery of core services in a municipality or First Nation community, as determined by the municipality or First Nation.
  • An individual who performs work of a critical nature in their service area or community, as determined by the Minister of Education or his delegate in consultation with the relevant service system manager or First Nation as those terms are defined under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014.
  • An individual who works in a child care centre or who otherwise provides child care in accordance with the requirements in this Order.
  • A member of the Canadian Armed Forces or an employee of the Department of National Defence.
  • All persons employed in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry who are engaged in,
    • prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response or recovery actions, as applicable, with respect to,
      • A. fires as defined in the Forest Fires Prevention Act,
      • B. floods,
      • C. dam failures, or
      • D. emergencies relating to oil and gas exploration or production, hydrocarbon underground storage, and salt solution mining, or
    • the provision of support services to Conservation Officers through the operation of the Ministry’s Provincial Communications Unit.
  • A person who holds a licence issued under section 13 of the Private Security and Investigative Services Act, 2005 to act as a security guard.
  • Staff as defined in the Retirement Homes Act, 2010.
  • Licensees as defined in the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 who are individuals and who work or provide services at a retirement home.
  • Staff as defined in the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007.
  • Individuals who work for manufacturers and distributors of pharmaceutical products and medical supplies, including medications, medical isotopes, vaccines and antivirals and medical devices. 
  • An individual employed by the Ministry of the Attorney General or a municipality in Ontario who is required to work on site to support the administration of the Ontario 4 Court of Justice, the Superior Court of Justice or the Court of Appeal for Ontario, including,
    • court services representatives, court and client representatives, court clerks, court registrars, court reporters, enforcement officers and any other administrative officers and employees that are considered necessary for the administration of the courts,
    • business professionals and Crown prosecutors of the Criminal Law Division, and
    • employees of the Victim/Witness Assistance Program
  • An individual who provides essential justice-related frontline services to Indigenous persons involved in the justice system and who is employed by an Indigenous community or Indigenous organization through a program funded by the Ministry of the Attorney General, including,
    • the Indigenous Courtwork Program,
    • the Indigenous Bail Verification and Supervision Program, or
    • the Indigenous Bail Beds Program.
  • An individual who is engaged in the delivery of frontline victim services funded by the Ministry of the Attorney General under the Ontario Victim Services program.
  • Persons, other than foster parents, who deliver or directly support the delivery of residential care, treatment and supervision to children and young persons residing in residential settings licensed under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017.
  • An individual employed by a children’s aid society designated under section 34 of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 to provide services necessary for the performance of a children’s aid society’s functions, as set out in section 35 (1) of that Act.
  • An individual employed by a service agency as defined in section 1 of the Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008, to provide services and supports, within the meaning of section 4 of that Act, to adults with developmental disabilities.
  • An individual who is engaged in the delivery of services funded by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services under the Violence Against Women Support Services or the Anti-Human Trafficking Community Supports programs. 
  • A staff member of a transfer payment recipient funded by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services who is engaged or employed to deliver interpreting or intervenor services for persons who are deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or deafblind.
  • A staff member of a school as defined in the Education Act who provides in-person instruction at a school to pupils with special education needs who cannot be accommodated through remote learning.
  • An individual who is an inspector appointed under the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001 or a field-person or officer appointed under the Milk Act.
  • An individual employed in the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development in Radiation Protection Services.
  • An individual who is employed by any of the following entities to carry out work that is deemed by the entity to be critical to the ongoing generation, transmission, distribution and storage of electricity sufficient to meet the demands of the province of Ontario:
    • The Independent Electricity System Operator.
    • A generator, transmitter or distributor within the meaning of the Electricity Act, 1998.
  • An individual who performs work that is essential to the operation of,
    • a municipal drinking water system as defined in section 2 of the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002,
    • a non-municipal year-round residential system as defined in section 1 of Ontario Regulation 170/03 (Drinking Water Systems) made under the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002, or
    • a wastewater treatment facility or a wastewater collection facility as those terms are defined in section 1 of Ontario Regulation 129/04 (Licensing of Sewage Works Operators) made under the Ontario Water Resources Act and to which that Regulation applies.
  • An employee of a hotel or motel that is acting as an isolation centre, health care centre, vaccine clinic or that is housing essential workers.
  • An individual working in a homeless shelter or providing services to homeless persons.
  • An individual who works for a business that processes, manufactures or distributes food or beverages.
  • Members, officers and special constables appointed under the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act who are working in Ontario.
  • Officers as defined in the Customs Act (Canada) who are working in Ontario.
  • Employees of the Canada Post Corporation who are working in Ontario.
  • Individuals working in fuel distribution and oil refineries.
  • Education staff who are required to report to work in person while their children continue with remote learning.
  • Grocery store and pharmacy workers.
  • Truck drivers.
  • Farmers and those who support food or agricultural product supply chains.
  • Individuals involved in the collecting, transporting, storing, processing, disposing or recycling of any type of waste.
  • Individuals working in the manufacturing and distribution of disinfectants and sanitizers.
  • Employees of HSR.

Licensed child care for children aged 0-3.8 years will continue during this period.

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:

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


  • Provide professional learning opportunities.
  • Develop quality initiatives based on best practices.
  • Monitor the Child Care Licensing System and work with operators to ensure compliance.
  • Determine funding allocations for child care operators.
  • Promote opportunities to engage with various organizations e.g. ASCY, College of ECE, Mohawk College.
  • Develop local policies that align with provincial legislative framework and meet local needs.
  • Provide understanding of what funding is available.
  • Work with Ministry of Education, Program Advisors to develop action plans in response to the Licensing Terms and Conditions.
  • Work collaboratively with operators to ensure professional learning opportunities align with work plan.
  • Inform and approve ASCY work plan.

Role of Operator


  • Recruit and retain highly skilled and qualified educators.
  • Participate in local quality initiatives.
  • Create a program statement that is consistent with the Minister’s policy statement on programming and pedagogy.
  • The document “How Does Learning Happen?” is to be used as the framework to guide and develop licensed child care programs.
  • Provide developmentally appropriate and evidence-based learning environments, resources, and curriculum
  • Follow provincial legislation, regulations and directives.
  • Notify City of Hamilton immediately when a provisional license is received.
  • Work with City of Hamilton to develop action 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


  • Provide tools and training to support operators with: business planning, meetings, work plan templates.
  • Ensure operators know what funding they are eligible for (One-time, transformation, capital retrofits expense, health & safety etc.).
  • Monitor vacancy reports.
  • Create Early Years Community Plan.

Role of Operator


  • Adopt annual business plans that show demand for child care and quality that aligns with costs.
  • Have strong organizational governance.
  • Have strong financial management practices.
  • 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


  • Provide an understanding of the demand for child care in the City of Hamilton to help influence decision making efforts (funding and contractual decisions).
  • Development of Waitlist Strategy.
  • Manage Special Needs Resourcing supports.
  • Lead and develop community initiatives that align with the Early Years Community Plan.

Role of Operator


  • Provide fee subsidized spaces.
  • Have an updated and current profile on the Hamilton Child Care Registry.
  • Minimize barriers to child care services for parents.
  • 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


  • Create opportunities and participate in consultation sessions and committees.
  • Help develop policies and procedures that support a seamless transition e.g. Referral pathways, school boards, special needs.

Role of Operator


  • Partner and link to other service providers across the early years system.
  • 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 quality program is mandatory for all licensed child care and EarlyON child and family centre 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 [email protected].

Special needs resourcing

Working together to deliver inclusive child care services in Hamilton

The City of Hamilton is committed to delivering inclusive services where everyone can be successful. To do this, the City uses Special Needs Resourcing funding to ensure that licensed child care sites across the city can deliver the appropriate level of service for children with special needs, including staff, equipment and supplies.

By working together with our licensed child care providers and community partners, we can all provide quality care and services to families and children with special needs. This means:

  • the child care provider, family and child are all included in the creation of a service plan
  • with the consent of the family, information is shared among service providers
  • special attention is paid to transition points (e.g. entry into child care, entry into school)
  • all current service providers provide regular input to Special Needs Resourcing planning meetings

Special Needs Resourcing funding supports children and families as well as Licensed Child Care Programs.

Licensed child care programs

Providing responsive, high quality, accessible and increasingly integrated early learning opportunities for children and their families.

Children and families

Accessing and experiencing early learning environments that encourage engagement, a sense of belonging, well-being and expression.


City of Hamilton

Supporting Children & Child Care Centres through:

  • Referral & Intake
  • Child Care Placement
  • Funding & Monitoring

Phone 905-546-2424 ext. 4872


Ron Joyce Children's Health Centre

Supporting Children & Child Care Centres through:

  • Early Identification
  • Supporting Transitions
  • Capacity Building
  • Education

Phone 905-521-2100 ext. 77696


Early Words

Supporting Children & Child Care Centres through:

  • Preschool Speech & Language
  • Infant Hearing
  • Blind - Low Vision
    • Early Identification
    • Assessment
    • Consultation

Phone 905-381-2828


Community Living Hamilton

Supporting Children & Child Care Centres through:

  • Resource Teachers
  • Support Facilitators
  • Consultation

Phone 905-528-0281


Affiliated Services for Children and Youth

Supporting Children & Child Care Centres through:

  • Training, resources  mentoring to Early Childhood Educators in licensed child care settings

Phone 905-574-6876 ext. 224

For more information about inclusive child care email: [email protected]

The Operator’s role is to work with the family, City of Hamilton staff and community service agencies to ensure that both the child and child care staff are comfortable with the new placement.

Every licensed child care program in the City of Hamilton has an assigned Community Living Hamilton Resource Teacher and Supervisor.

For more information contact
Community Living’s Administrator
905‐528‐0281 ext. 376

Community Living Hamilton Resource Teachers will be available for on‐going consultation.

Additional consultation is available through:

Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre,
Community Care Access Centre,
Early Words Community Support Team,
Affiliated Services for Children and Youth
Other services involved with the child.

Once a child is enrolled in the child care program, and Community Living Hamilton has received a referral from the City of Hamilton, the Resource Teacher can help to develop the child’s Individual Support Plan (ISP) if one is required.

Once the ISP has been applied for a minimum of 30 days, child care staff can make a request for enhanced classroom support. The Resource Teacher will arrange a time to complete the Enhanced Classroom Support Identification Tool (ECSIT). This tool determines the amount – if any – and length of time enhanced classroom support will be provided by a Support Facilitator.

During the Support Facilitator’s involvement with your program, the Support Facilitator and Resource Teacher will work with you to help plan for when the enhanced classroom support is no longer required. If further support is still needed, you will be required to submit a request to your Resource Teacher for the ECSIT to be completed again. The results will determine if the ECSIT will continue and for how long.

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.