Early Years and Child Care Services

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.

Financial support is available to eligible families who live in Hamilton and have child care costs for children ages 0 to 12 years. You can complete the Child Care Subsidy Calculator to confirm if you're eligible to apply. 

How to Apply

Families can apply for child care subsidy using the online application form. Visit Apply for Financial Support for Child Care to review and complete the application process. 

Keeping your information up to date

Your file will need to be updated on an annual basis.  This can be done in person or by submitting the required paperwork. You will receive a letter requesting documentation to verify your continued eligibility prior to your subsidy expiring. Your Placement Authorization form will confirm the expiry date. Should you or your Subsidy Eligibility worker choose to complete the annual review in person an appointment will be scheduled with you.

Changes in your situation
If at any time your situation changes, such as moving to a new address, change in marital status or family composition, a significant change in income and/or your reason for receiving child care subsidy changes you must contact your Subsidy Eligibility worker within 48 hours. Depending on the changes, you may require a re-assessment.

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 Hamilton, child care subsidy is not transferable

Failure to report these changes may result in payments owing to the City of Hamilton.

If prior to your annual review you experience a significant change in your income (reduction of 20% or more to your annual income) you may qualify for a reduction in your monthly contribution towards child care.  Contact your Subsidy Eligibility worker for further details.

Child care subsidy may continue until the beginning of a maternity/parental leave.  If medical complications arise and your leave begins early, medical documentation is required.  Prior approval is required from your Subsidy Eligibility worker if your child is to remain in subsidized care.

Once your baby is born, your file will be placed on a Break in Service.  A Break in Service permits you to keep your eligibility for child care subsidy while not actively receiving it. Reinstatement must be approved by the Subsidy Eligibility worker.  Contact your worker three months prior to when you need the subsidy to resume. Should you fail to contact your Subsidy Eligibility worker within 18 months of the start of your Break in Service your file will be terminated. 

You may qualify for a period of 3 months of continued child care subsidy to secure employment. You must seek approval from your Subsidy Eligibility worker to review your eligibility for a looking for work term.  A looking for work term is available only once in a 12 month period and for a maximum of 3 months. 

Transferring or withdrawing from the child care program

You must provide your current child care provider with a minimum of 2 weeks notice.  It is your responsibility to inform your Subsidy Eligibility worker of any changes to you child care arrangements.

Child Absence from the Child Care Program

Your child is permitted to be absent from a centre due to illness, vacation and unexpected absences up to a maximum allowable limit.  You are responsible for fees incurred beyond these limits. It is your responsibility to inform the child care centre of all absences. Your child care subsidy may be terminated if your child fails to attend on a regular basis.

If your child is absent for 5 consecutive days in a month or if you have concerns about your child’s attendance contact your Subsidy Eligibility worker.

If you have extenuating circumstances that have led to absences submit a Request Increase to Sick/Absent Days Form (PDF, 176 KB) for consideration prior to exhausting your allowable absences limits.  Supporting documentation may be required.

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