While the demand for high quality child care continues to increase, it is a highly regulated industry and opening a centre in the province of Ontario is by no means an easy task. To get a more complete picture about what is involved in starting your own licensed child care program, please review the following resources.

The Ontario Ministry of Education (the government body responsible for licensing and funding licensed child care in Ontario) has produced a guidebook helpful to prospective child care owner/operators: Planning and Design Guidelines for Licensed Child Care Centres (2022)

The federal government makes information available about day care start-ups at: 

Further start-up information from the Ontario Ministry of Education is available here:

If you plan on opening a part-time, afterschool or summer camp program and would like clarification about the legal requirements related to child care licensing, you may contact the Ministry of Education at: or 1-877-510-5333

In partnership with the Aga Khan Economic Planning Board for Canada and the Aga Khan Education Board for Canada, ADCO did a presentation for those interested in the child care business. It provides a general overview of the start-up process, the types of opportunities that are available, and some of the key considerations involved in delivering high quality experiences for families.

Steps To Starting a Licensed Child Care Program

  • Determine whether you want to start a new licensed child care program from scratch, or whether you'd prefer to buy an existing licensed centre. (ADCO can refer you to real estate agents who specialize in day care transactions, who will be able to help you identify centres currently for sale and/or sites where day cares could easily be located.)

  • Choose a prospective location and survey the area to be certain there is a need for your service.

  • Check with the Zoning Department in your municipality to make sure that the area is zoned for day care.

  • Download and review the Child Care and Early Years Act (CCEYA) and visit the Province of Ontario's child care start-up page at:

  • Apply for a child care license within the Ministry of Education's online system (CCLS) and pay the required fee. (This allows a Ministry Program Advisor to be assigned to you.)

  • Make an appointment for the Ministry of Education Program Advisor to visit your prospective centre to see if it is suitable for day care, and make suggestions about any renovations that may be necessary.

  • Present the floor plans of your centre to the Program Advisor for approval.

  • Under the direction of the Program Advisor, you must arrange to have your premises inspected by the Building, Fire and Health Departments in your municipality.


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All rights Reserved.

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