Early Years and Child Care Services

Financial Support for Child Care

Emergency Child Care for Health Care & Other Frontline Workers

Updated April 29, 2020

The City of Hamilton has partnered with our three licensed home child care agencies to offer emergency licensed home child care to eligible health care and other essential frontline workers during the pandemic free of charge. To be eligible, families must either live or work in Hamilton.

Full list of workers eligible for Emergency Child Care

  • An individual who is,
    • a regulated health care professional, or
    • an unregulated health care provider working in health care delivery, either directly or indirectly.
  • Individuals who work for manufacturers of pharmaceutical products and medicalsupplies, including medications, medical isotopes, vaccines and antivirals and medical devices.
  • A police officer as defined in 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.
  • An individual employed as a firefighter as defined in section 1 of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997.
  • An individual who is,
    • engaged in providing fire protection services as defined under section 1 of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997, and
    • employed in a fire department as defined under section 1 of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997.
    • 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 and independent contractors who supply 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 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 by the Ministry of the Solicitor General at the Centre of Forensic Sciences who is involved in supporting and conducting forensic testing and analysis.
  • An individual employed by the Ministry of the Solicitor General at the Provincial Forensic Pathology Unit.
  • An individual employed at the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre or at the Ministry of the Solicitor General’s Emergency Operations Centres.
  • An animal welfare inspector appointed pursuant to the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act, 2019.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. In Hamilton this includes:
    • individuals working in essential Public Health positions,
    • individuals working in essential City Contact Centre positions,
    • individuals providing essential Hamilton Water operations including drinking water, wastewater collection and treatment, and stormwater management,
    • individuals providing essential HSR service,
    • individuals providing essential services at Wentworth and Macassa Lodges, and
    • individuals supporting the Emergency Operations Centre, including individuals working in the Emergency Shelter System.
  • 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 authorized to operate pursuant to this Order.
  • 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 or Indigenous Justice Division program.
  • 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 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 working in a homeless shelter or providing services to homeless persons.
  • 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 grocery stores and pharmacies.
  • Truck drivers (class A and D)
  • Individuals who are supporting food processing and/or the food supply chain
  • Those who provide intervenor and/or interpreting services for people who are Deaf, deafened, hard of hearing and deafblind, as well as people who have a combined loss of both hearing and vision.
  • Individuals who work in retirement homes.
  • Auxiliary workers in health care settings including cooks and cleaning staff in hospitals and long-term care homes.
  • Provincial Offences officers, Provincial Court staff.
  • Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) emergency personnel.
  • Members of the Canadian Armed Forces or the Department of National Defence who are working in Ontario and whose child care is provided by a Military Family Resource Centre.
  • Additional select community safety and correctional services personnel, including animal welfare inspectors.

The three agencies are Today's Family, Wee Watch Golfwood, and Wee Watch Galbraith. All agencies have providers who will provide child care in their homes to accommodate 12 hour shifts for children of staff aged 12 months to 12 years of age.  

All three agencies are required to have pandemic plans in place and are working closely with Public Health to mitigate possible exposure to COVID-19. These agencies have implemented these strategies:

  • Children and staff who are ill with fever and/or infectious respiratory symptoms are required to stay home
  • The consistent practice of good respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene
  • Enhanced environmental cleaning of the facility
  • Families who have recently traveled out of province are required to stay home from child care for 14 days to ensure they are not ill

Spaces are limited and the enrollment process is streamlined to ease access for these essential workers. Eligible families are to identify themselves as essential health care or frontline staff when they contact the agencies.

For more information on how to access this service, contact:

Based on the advice of Public Health, the safest place for children during this time is to remain at home and adhere to physical distancing recommendations. Emergency child care services are reserved exclusively for children of eligible essential workers who have no other alternatives.

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