Early Years and Child Care Services

Apply for Financial Support for Child Care

Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care agreement

The federal and provincial governments recently signed the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care agreement aimed at making child care more affordable for families.

If you have a child under 6 years in licensed child care and the centre chooses to participate in the agreement, you may receive a 25% child care fee reduction as of April 1. An additional 25% fee reduction is also set to occur by the end of 2022.

If your licensed child care provider decides to participate and is approved, they will let you know when you can receive your refund. If your provider decides not to participate in the agreement, they must let you know.

Once we receive more information from the provincial government, the City of Hamilton will be creating an application process to make it easy for your child care provider to apply to a part of the agreement. While this process may take a few months, you will still receive a refund retroactive to April 1, 2022.

We encourage parents/caregivers to reach out to their child care providers for any questions related to whether your child care provider intends to apply to participate in the agreement.

Find a child care provider in Hamilton, view the current child care registry.

Need help covering the cost of licensed child care? Learn more about opportunities for a child care subsidy.

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 Criteria

Eligibility is based on income and reasons for needing child care. You must live in Hamilton, be a Canadian Citizen, Permanent Resident, Refugee, or have a valid Work Permit.

You must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • 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 and to see an estimate of the total monthly amount your family would pay for all children to attend licensed child care.

How to apply

Complete the Online Application Form to apply for Child Care Subsidy. To qualify for subsidy, your child care provider must have a contract with the City of Hamilton. For more information about approved child care operators, visit the Hamilton Child Care Registry.

All applicants must require child care within the next three months to be eligible to submit an application.

Next steps after applying

Applicants that are not subject to the waiting list will be contacted to submit required documentation and 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.

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
  • Work Permit; 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, 2020 – June 30, 2021 2019 Tax Year

July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022

2020 Tax Year
July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023 2021 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 one of the following: Master Business License; OR Business Name Registration; OR Official document stating HST number; OR Certificate of Incorporation and your most recent Federal Notice of Assessment. All self-employed applicants must also complete a Self-Employment Questionnaire (PDF, 47 KB). One questionnaire is to be completed for each self-employed applicant.  If both applicants are working for the same business only one questionnaire is required.

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
Fax: 905-546-3064
For new applicants submit to the Attention: Intake

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, 128 KB)

Child Care Referral

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. 7133 or email [email protected] with the name and fax number of your referring agent. The referral can be completed by one of the following approved professionals:

  • Family Physician
  • Pediatrician
  • Specialist
  • Shelters
  • 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.

Contact us

Phone: 905-546-4870
Fax: 905-546-3064
Email: [email protected]

Hours of Operation:
Monday to Friday
8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Physical Address
Child Care Subsidy
Lister Block Building
28 James Street North, 6th Floor
Hamilton, Ontario L8R 2K1

Mailing Address
City of Hamilton
Healthy and Safe Communities
Child Care Subsidy
Lister Block Building, 6th Floor
P.O. Box 2040
Hamilton, Ontario L8P 4Y5