Early Years and Child Care Services

Finding 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.

The Hamilton Child Care Registry makes finding licensed child care providers simple. You can browse child care options by location and age group. You can also view details about a child care program, hours and type of care being offered.

Explore your child care options

To find child care near you, enter an address into the search box in the map.

Hamilton is a community rich in quality child care and families are encouraged to research child care choices as options vary. All licensed child care programs with a Funding Agreement with the City of Hamilton participate in Hamilton’s Early Years Quality Program.

Learn more about Hamilton's Early Years System and Quality Program

Licensed Child Care

Licensed child care is governed by the Child Care and Early Years Act. The Ministry of Education provides standards around health, safety and quality experiences for children. Licensed child care is regularly monitored and inspected to ensure they are following Ministry standards.

Learn more about the difference of Licensed Child Care

Licensed Centre-Based Child Care

Licensed Child Care Centres care for infants and toddlers, as well as pre-school and school-aged children. They include nursery schools, full-day care, extended hours care, and before and after school programs. Child care centres operate in a variety of locations including workplaces, community centres, schools and places of worship.

Ministry of Education staff inspects child care centres at least once a year to make sure the programs meet specific provincial standards for the health, safety and developmental needs of the children.

Benefits of Licensed Centre-Based Child Care

  • Staff are certified Early Childhood Educators
  • Promotes play based learning, physical and outdoor activity
  • Support early detection and intervention
  • Access to special needs resourcing
  • Supports smooth transitions to school
  • Links to other community programs and supports
  • Child Care Fee Subsidies available

Learn more about Licensed Centre-Based Child Care 

Licensed Home Child Care

Licensed home child care is provided in the home of a child care provider that is contracted with a licensed home child care agency. There are three licensed home child care agencies that have a Funding Agreement with the City of Hamilton. Home child care providers with a licensed home child care agency are supported by a home child care visitor with a background in Early Childhood Education (ECE) who meets Ministry of Education requirements.

Benefits of Licensed Home Child Care

  • Offers home-like environment
  • Flexible hours of care to meet families’ needs
  • Providing care for children 0-12 years
  • Small group size – up to six children
  • Conveniently located in a neighbourhood near you
  • Child care agency provides support, training and inspections of each home
  • Child Care fee subsidies available

Learn more about Licensed Home Child Care (PDF, 172.9 KB)

Considering Home Child Care?

Speak to a Child Care Agency

Today’s Family
Serving all of Hamilton
905-574-9344, ext. 112
[email protected]

Wee Watch Child Care Galbraith
Serving Stoney Creek, East Hamilton,
Hamilton Mountain, Binbrook & Grimsby
905-561-0008
[email protected]

Wee Watch Child Care Golfwood
Serving Hamilton, Ancaster & Dundas
905-574-5409
[email protected]

Red Hill Family Centre

Red Hill Family Centre is the City of Hamilton’s only municipally funded child care centre. Red Hill Family Centre is a fully inclusive family based child care centre for children 18 months-5 years.

Learn more about Red Hill Family Centre

Reduce your costs for child care

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.