Early Years and Child Care Services

Financial Support for Child Care

Emergency child care for designated essential service workers

As Ontario schools are closed for in-person learning following the April break as part of the Ontario Government broader efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19, the Ministry of Education and the City of Hamilton is providing targeted free emergency child care for the school aged children of designated essential service workers effective April 19, 2021.

During this period, emergency child care services is 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.

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:

Licensed child care programs, including licensed centre based, home childcare care and child care located in schools, for children aged 0 to 3.8 years will continue during this period.

  • Health care workers, including but not limited to doctors, nurses, health care providers and those who work in long-term care and retirement homes, as well as individuals who manufacture or distribute medical/pharmaceutical supplies
  • Individuals performing work in relation to the administration, distribution or manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines
  • Child care workers, including those staffing the emergency child care programs
  • Grocery store and pharmacy workers
  • Public safety (police, fire, paramedics, provincial inspection/enforcement), justice/court and correctional system workers
  • Frontline staff in Children's Aid Societies and residential services
  • Individuals working in developmental services, violence against women services, victims' services, anti-human trafficking and those engaged in interpreting or intervenor services for persons who are deaf or deaf-blind
  • Individuals working in a homeless shelter or providing services to homeless persons
  • Food safety inspectors and individuals working in the processing, manufacturing or distribution of food and beverages
  • OPS staff employed in Radiation Protection Services
  • OPS staff performing critical tasks related to environmental monitoring, reporting and laboratory services
  • Certain federal employees, including RCMP, Canada Border Services, Canadian Armed Forces and Canada Post
  • Power workers
  • Non-municipal water and wastewater workers
  • Workers involved in the collecting, transporting, storing, processing, disposing or recycling of any type of waste.
  • Education staff who are required to attend schools to provide in-person instruction and support to students with special education needs who cannot be accommodated through remote learning
  • Employees of a hotel or motel that is acting as an isolation centre, health care centre, vaccine clinic or housing essential workers.
  • Truck drivers and transit workers
  • Construction workers
  • Any individual whose child was registered in an emergency child care program delivered by a Consolidated Municipal Service Manager or District Social Service Administration Board during the time period beginning on April 6, 2021 and ending on April 16, 2021.

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