Families can apply for financial support for child care costs for children ages 0 to12 years. Depending on your circumstances, you may be put onto a wait list. Wait times will vary depending on your priority and funding availability. Learn more about the wait list.
Eligibility is based on income and reasons for needing child care.
You must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Live in Hamilton, be a Canadian Citizen, Permanent Resident or Refugee.
- Working or attending school a minimum of 20 hours/week
- Participating in an approved employment assistance activity through Ontario Works
- Received approval through the child care referral process
A family is no longer eligible when any of the following occur:
- No longer financially qualify
- No longer have an approved reason to need child care (i.e. no longer in school, employment ended, child care referral ends)
- Child(ren) turn 13 years of age
- Move out of the Hamilton (subsidy is not transferable)
Child care subsidy calculator
Use the Child Care Subsidy Calculator to verify if you qualify to and see an estimate of the total monthly amount your family would pay for all children to attend licensed child care.
How to apply
The application process depends on whether you curently have a child care provider or are looking for one. To qualify for child care subsidy, your child care provider must have a contract with the City.
Next steps after applying
Within 10 business days after all your documents have been received, you will be contacted to confirm the next steps in your application. If the required supporting documents are not received within 30 days of your application date, your application will be recorded as “rejected”.
Applicants that are not subject to the waiting list will be scheduled an intake appointment to verify their eligibility. Applicants subject to the wait list will be sent a letter confirming waitlist placement. You will be contacted when an opening for the program is available.
It is important to notify our office if you have a change in address or phone number so that we can reach you when an opening for the program is available.
If you are currently looking for a child care provider or using a child care provider that does not have a contract with the City of Hamilton you must secure child care with an eligible provider. Visit the Hamilton Child Care Registry to find a licensed child care provider.
1. Proof of your status in Canada for all family members (only required at initial appointment or if status changes)
- Canadian birth certificate; or
- Valid Canadian passport; or
- Permanent resident card; or
- Record of Landing; or
- Refugee papers’ or
- Letter from Citizenship and Immigration (CIC) verifying permanent resident status or application for status
2. Proof of your income (one of the following for all adults in the family)
- Canada Child Benefit Notice
- Current Federal Notice of Assessment
- Ontario Child Benefit Notice
- Families receiving Ontario Works/ODSP support do not need to verify income
- Review the chart to confirm the tax year to submit:
|July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2018||2016 Tax Year|
|July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019||2017 Tax Year|
|July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020||2018 Tax Year|
3. Proof of the reason for needing child care (one of the following for all adults in the family)
- One month of current paystubs or a letter from employer verifying hours working each week
- Verification of school enrolment i.e. OSAP Assessment, class schedule, including confirmation of start and end dates
- For self-employed applicants a copy of their business license and Revenue Canada Form T2125 –Statement of Business or Professional Activities
4. Proof of your current address
- Recent utility bill
- Lease or mortgage papers
- Letter received from recognized institution such as bank, credit card or school
5. Proof of custody arrangements (if applicable and only required at initial appointment or if/when custody changes)
- Legal documentation, divorce papers, separation agreement, mediation report or other written agreement verifying custody arrangements
Due to high sensitivity of information and for your protection, we do not accept any documentation by e-mail in the form of attachments, scans or photos. Do not submit original documents. Copies of the following supporting documents must be faxed, mailed or hand delivered to the following address.
City of Hamilton
Child Care Subsidy Program
Mail: Lister Block, 6th Floor, PO Box 2040, Hamilton, ON, L8P 4Y5
Hand Deliver: Lister Block, 28 James St. N., 6th Floor, Hamilton, ON, L8R2K1
For new applicants submit to the Attention: Intake
Appealing Eligibility Decisions
Everyone has the right to appeal an eligibility decision. Appeals must be submitted in writing with any new information relevant to your situation. All appeal decisions will be sent by mail to your home address. Appeal Form (PDF, 145 KB)
If child care is required due to the special needs of your child or if you are unable to care for your child due to illness, disability or high-risk family situation then a child care referral is required.
Referrals end when a child is eligible to attend full day kindergarten. To request a child care referral package call 905-546-2424 ext. 4186 or email email@example.com with the name and fax number of your referring agent. The referral can be completed by one of the following approved professionals:
- Family Physician
- Public Health
- Resource Teachers
- Children’s Aid Society Caseworkers
- Speech and Language Pathologist
It is your responsibility to contact your referring agent to complete the referral. If approved you will be contacted by a Subsidy Eligibility worker to discuss next steps and if denied your referring agent will be notified.
Early Years and Child Care Services
Lister Block Building
28 James Street North, 6th Floor
Hamilton, Ontario L8R 2K1
Office hours: Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
City of Hamilton Community Services
Child Care Subsidy
Lister Block Building, 6th Floor
P.O. Box 2040
Hamilton, Ontario L8P 4Y5
- Date modified: