While the demand for high quality child care continues to increase, day care is a highly regulated industry and opening a centre in the province of Ontario is by no means an easy task. The steps noted further down on this page are just a few of the things you'll need to keep in mind if you're starting a centre. For more detailed information, you may wish to join ADCO and connect direclty with the owners and managers of licensed child care programs from across the province. It's also a good idea to contact the Children's Services Manager of your local municipality to learn more about the types of licensed child care services your community most needs.To get a more complete picture about what is involved in starting your own licensed child care pogram, you might also wish to review the following resources.
On June 18, 2016, ADCO Co-President Wendy Marshall delivered a live webinar at the request of the Aga Khan Economic Planning Board for Canada and the Aga Khan Education Board for Canada. This informative recording is designed to provide those interested in the child care business with 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.Starting Your New Child Care Business in Canada--June 18, 2016

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

The provincial government provides information about child care licensing at:
If you need sample policies for a new centre, there is a good resource 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
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) as well as the Ministry of Education's Reference Guide for Applicants and Child Care Licensing Manual.
  • 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.

Before your centre can be licensed, the following procedures must be completed:

  • The Program Advisor must have written approval of your premises from the Zoning, Fire and Health Departments.
  • Hire the required number of qualified staff and submit a record of their qualifications.
  • Equip your centre and submit a list of inventory.
  • Submit a copy of your proposed timetable.
  • Submit two copies of your incorporation papers (if applicable).
  • Submit a list of the current officers of the board (if applicable).
  • Submit a copy of your proposed child admission form and medical form.
  • A written statement outlining the program philosophy and method of operations setting out services offered, age range, times open, holidays, etc.
  • A written daily program plan showing group and individual activities, active and quiet play and activities that promote gross motor and fine motor skills, language and cognitive and social and emotional development. 

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All rights Reserved.

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