2015 Licensed Child Care Operators Survey Results

A drawing of friends playing in the playground at their child care centre. By Madeline, age 5.


In spring 2015, the Ministry of Education launched its second online survey for licensed child care centres and home child care agencies in Ontario. All licensed child care licensees were asked to complete the questionnaire. This report provides a provincial summary of the survey, along with regional snapshots.

The first survey, completed in 2012, provided valuable information about the sector, which informed important child care and early years' policies and programs. Three years later, the child care landscape continues to evolve.

There has been tremendous growth in the sector: Full-Day Kindergarten is now available across Ontario; the Ontario Early Years Policy Framework, 2013 was established; How Does Learning Happen? – Ontario's Pedagogy for the Early Years, 2014, is guiding professionals across the province; and the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 is now in effect. This work has been ground-breaking and transformational, representing change the early years sector has not seen in over a generation.

With a focus on partnerships, we have built strong relationships with child care licensees, agencies and organizations. And we have benefitted from extensive consultation and engagement with experts, parents and communities as we work towards Ontario's vision for the early years:

Ontario's children and families are well supported by a system of responsive, high-quality, accessible, and increasing integrated early years programs and services that contribute to healthy child development today and a stronger future tomorrow.

With so much change and growth in the sector, the ministry needed important, up-to-date information about licensed child care in Ontario. We are grateful that over 4,500 child care centres and home child care agencies participated – a 90% response rate. With this data, the ministry can make informed, evidence-based decisions about policies and programs, helping us to work together and achieve strong outcomes for children and families.

Data Collection

Data was collected over a 14-week period, from April 13 to July 17, 2015. Responses were submitted online. Respondents were asked to provide information accurate as of April 1, 2015. As such, all information provided reflects the Day Nurseries Act (DNA), as the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 and its regulations came into effect on August 31, 2015.

Overall Summary of Results

The 2015 Licensed Child Care Operators Survey was completed by 90% of licensed child care centres1 (4,537 of 5,068) and 94% of home child care agencies (114 of 121). The results do not include centres and agencies that opened or closed after March 2015.

Completion Rate of Survey

Based on the responses from licensed child care centres (4,537):

  • 78% were non-profit
  • 55% were located in publicly-funded schools
  • 1% was operated in a First Nation community
  • 5% were French-language programs

Based on the responses from licensed home child care agencies (114):

  • 90% were non-profit
  • 2% of agency offices were located in publicly-funded schools
  • 1% was operated in a First Nation community
  • 4% were French-language programs
  • 4,160 home providers were reported to be associated with responding agencies to provide licensed home child care

Hours of Operation and Type of Care

Child Care Centres

Operating Hours

54% of child care centres2 provided care between 7:00am and 5:45pm.  95% of centres opened between 6:00 and 8:00am and closed between 5:00-7:00pm.

Average Operating Hours
  Standard Before School After School
Start Time End Time Start Time End Time Start Time End Time
Average Time 7:00 AM 5:45 PM 7:00 AM 8:45 AM 3:15 PM 6:00 PM

Type of Care

The type of care offered within child care centres varied:

  • 57% of centres offered both full day3 as well as before and after school care; 24% only offered full day care, 19% only offered before, after or before and after school care. 

Care during non-standard hours was limited:

  • 2% of centres offered evening care after 7:00pm; 1% of centres offered care on the weekend; and, 0.2% of centres offered care overnight4.

Child Care Centres - Type of Care Offered

Home Child Care Agencies

Operating Hours

Given the variance and flexibility in hours often offered by home child care providers, agencies were not asked to provide standard operating times for their home providers. 

Type of Care

Home child care providers offered multiple types of child care:

  • 99% offered full day care and between 28%-42% offered before and/or after school care. 

Child care during non-standard hours was more widely available in home child care as compared to centre-based care:

  • 29% of home providers offered evening care, 24% offered weekend care and 21% offered overnight care.

Home Child Care Providers - Time of Care Offered

Child Care During School Breaks and Holidays

Child care during school breaks and holidays varied, with home child care providers more likely to offered care during these times. Both centres and home providers were less likely to offer care during statutory holidays. 

Child Care During School Breaks and Holidays

Distribution of Child Care by Age Group and Fee Subsidies

Distribution of Child Care Provided by Age Group5

Provision of care, by age group, varied within child care centres and home child care providers6. Some centres and home providers provided care to both younger children (infant, toddler, and preschool) and children in school. Others provided care only to younger children or only to children in school.

Percentage of Child Care Centre / Home Child Care Providers Offering Care by Age Group

Distribution of Child Care Fee Subsidies by Age Group

Within child care centres, approximately one-third of children under 4 years of age received a fee subsidy. The majority of children did not receive subsidies, regardless of age grouping.   

In contrast, a large proportion of children received a fee subsidy within home child care.  Approximately 60% of children under 4 years of age received a subsidy.

Approximately 80% of child care centres and 90% of home child care agencies had a child care subsidy Purchase of Service (POS) agreement with, or were operated by, a Consolidated Municipal Service Manager (CMSM) or District Social Services Administration Board (DSSAB), which allowed them to accept children who receive a fee subsidy. 

% of Children Receiving Fee Subsidies

Daily Full Time Child Care Fees7

Fees for full time care varied greatly across child care centres and home child care agencies. Using infant fees as an example:

  • Child Care Centres – the provincial average is $62 per day for infant care, but fees range between $24 and $118 per day.
  • Home Child Care Agencies - the provincial average is $42 per day for infant care, but fees range between $20 and $55 per day.

The average fee within centres was higher than in agencies for younger children and lower than in agencies for older children. 

Daily Full Time Child Care Fees
Age Group Child Care Centres - Average Fee/Day (Range) Home Child Care - Average Fee/Day (Range)
Infant $62
Toddler $51
Preschool $44
Full Time
Before and After School
School Age
Before and After School


Centres and agencies were asked to provide the number of staff whose hourly wage falls within a wage range category. All grants and enhancements received by staff as part of their regular wages were included in this amount.   

Wages – Child Care Centres

Overall, administrators (which include senior leaders such as executive directors) had the highest earning potential of child care centre staff, with 26% earning more than $35.00/hour. Program staff, who are Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs), earned higher wages than program staff without an RECE qualification. 45% of full time RECEs earned $15.01-$20.00/ hour, whereas only 27% of other full time program staff (i.e. non-RECEs) earned that amount.

Staff Wages – Child Care Centres*
Child Care Centres Program Staff RECE Program Staff Other Supervisor Administrator Other Staff
$11.00-15.00/hr 24% 67% 65% 41% 32%
$15.01-$20.00/hr 45% 27% 30%
$20.01-$26.26/hr9 22% 6% 3%
$26.27-$30.00/hr 4% 0% 15% 22% 0%
$30.01-$35.00/hr 4% 0% 10% 12% 26%
$35.00+/hr 1% 0% 10% 26% 9%
* Percentage of full time staff in each wage range

Wages – Home Child Care Agencies10

Overall, administrators had the highest earning potential among home child care agency staff with 21% of earning more than $35.00/hour.   

Staff Wages – Home Child Care Agencies**
Home Child Care Agencies Home Visitor Supervisor Administrator Other Staff
$11.00-15.00/hr 4% 77% 65% 25%
$15.01-$20.00/hr 29% 10%
$20.01-$26.26/hr9 27% 37%
$26.27-$30.00/hr 17% 4% 6% 9%
$30.01-$35.00/hr 11% 6% 8% 7%
$35.00+/hr 12% 13% 21% 12%
** Percentage of full time staff in each wage range

Home Child Care Agency Administrative Fees

Fees varied, however for the majority of Home Child Care Agencies the administration fee included support and services for the home child care provider, including placement of children, administrative support, professional learning and programming support, and equipment lending.

Services included in Home Child Care Agency Administration Fee
Services Provided Included in Administration Fee
Regular ongoing support
Advice and professional learning
Administrative support
Compliance support and inspection
Coordinating back-up cares for families
Program and menu
Equipment and toy lending
Placement of children in providers homes
Note: These services were included in the administration fees for 85% or more of the Home Child Care Agencies that completed the survey

Appendix 1 – Age Groups

Note: Age categories reflect the definitions in the Day Nurseries Act as this was the legislation in place when the survey was conducted.


  • Infants include children who are under 18 months of age.


  • Toddlers include children who are between 18 months and 30 months of age.


  • Preschoolers include children who are more than 30 months up to and including 5 years of age.


  • Kindergarteners include children who are between 3 years, 8 months and 5 years 7 months of age as of August 31.

School Age

  • School Agers include children who are between the ages of 5 years, 8 months and 12 years of age as of August 31.

Appendix 2 – Staff Position Descriptions

Note: Where applicable, position descriptions reflect the definitions in the Day Nurseries Act as this was the legislation in place when the survey was conducted.

  • Program Staff - Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE): A person who is a registered member of the College of Early Childhood Educators or has otherwise received Director Approval to take the place of an RECE (as set out in section 59(1) of Regulation 262 under the Day Nurseries Act) and who plans and oversees the program for one group of children.

  • Program Staff – Other Staff: A person 18 years of age or older who works regularly and directly with children, as part of the required staffing ratio, but is not a registered member of the College of Early Childhood Educators. This staff member may have partial ECE training or may be enrolled in an academic program that will lead to the qualifications set out in section 59 of Regulation 262 under the Day Nurseries Act. This does not include Resource Teachers or other classroom visitors (e.g. Elders, music or activity instructors, volunteers, etc.).

  • Private-Home Day-Care Home Visitors: Employees of a licensed private-home day care agency that screen, approve and monitor individual licensed caregivers who use their own homes to look after children.

  • Supervisor: A person approved by the ministry who plans and directs the program of the day nursery, is in charge of the children, oversees the staff and is responsible to the operator as set out in sections 3 and 58 of Regulation 262 under the Day Nurseries Act.

  • Administrator: A senior employee who oversees/manages a licensed child care operation. In the case of multi-site child care licensees, this person would be responsible for overseeing the organization as a whole, not individual child care centres. The administrator may include (but is not limited to) being in charge of human resources, finances, communication and/or policies for the organization.

  • Non-Program Staff: Staff employed by the child care operator to perform duties that are not directly related to the delivery of a child care program. This may include cooks, bus drivers, housekeeping, janitorial and clerical staff.

1. Licensees that operate multiple centres completed a survey for each of their centres.

2. Nursery School Programs (N=305; 7% of all Centres) were excluded from the hour analysis as their hours of care vary from other child care centres. Nursery School Programs are defined as programs that operate for between 3 to 6 hours per day and/or only provide part-time care for preschool age children.

3. Full day care was defined as offering care for 6 or more consecutive hours, sometime between 6:00am and 7:00pm. Actual start and end times varied by centre and home provider.

4. There were nine centres that responded to the survey that provided overnight care.

5. See Appendix 1 for age categories

6. Home child care agencies offered care to all ages groups (95%-100%), depending on the type of care offered by the home providers within their organization.

7. Fees that were very low and presumed to be subsidized, and fees that were very high and presumed to be monthly or weekly rates, were removed for analysis purposes.

8. See Appendix 2 for descriptions of staff positions

9. Beginning January 1, 2015, the Government of Ontario began implementing a wage increase for eligible licensed child care staff of an additional $1/hour to a maximum of $26.26 per hour through the Ontario Wage Enhancement Grant.

10. Rates for home child care providers varied greatly depending on the ages and number of children in their care.  As such agencies were not asked to report provider rates.