Understanding the “legal-ese” of the new Childcare and Early Years Act can be confusing. All the media and social media discussion around the issue can complicate it even further.
Here are some of the basic changes the new law has introduced which primarily affect home-based child care. Please note that we use the term “Independent” to define a home childcare provider not affiliated with an agency. We use the term “Agency” to define a home childcare provider who is affiliated with an agency.
Prior to Bill 10’s passing, Independent Home Childcare Providers (ICP’s) were allowed to look after 5 children under 10yrs old, not including their own children. Agency Providers were allowed 5 children under 10yrs old, with only 2 under 2, 3 under 3 and they had to include their own children under the age of 6.
Major changes under the Childcare and Early Years Act for Independent Childcare Providers (ICPs) include:
- ICPs can care for 5 children, including their own children under age 6*
- Providers can only care for a maximum of 2 children under 2
- Providers will be allowed to care for 5 children under 13
- A provider’s own children attending full day kindergarten or grade one will be counted during the summer months, but not be counted during the school year (including PA days and March break) if:
- The care is being provided between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.;
- The provider is only caring for a maximum of 1 child under 2; and
- The provider has not been convicted of an offence under DNA or CCEYA
- Ministry of Education Inspectors may enter and inspect daycare homes without a warrant. Upon inspection, the Inspector has, ‘on reasonable grounds’, the power to close down a home daycare immediately, issue fines up to $100,000, or temporarily stop a provider from providing care. There is, as of yet, no clear definition of what constitutes ‘reasonable grounds’.
[Excerpt from the Ministry of Education FAQ]
Who does the Act apply to?
- Unlicensed child care
- Home child care providers contracted by a licensed agency
- Licensed home child care agencies; and
- Licensed child care centres
Who is exempt from the Act?
The following are some examples:
- Nannies or babysitters who provide care to children in the children’s home
- Care by relatives
- Camps that only provide care to children aged 4 and over
- Programs with a primary purpose of academic or skill-based recreation
- Private schools that only care for children aged 4 and over
When will the new rules come into effect?
The new rules will come into effect on August 31, 2015. However, the following two rules for unlicensed providers will not apply until January 1, 2016:
- Providers must count their own children under the age of 6*
- Provider can only care for a maximum of 2 children under the age of 2*
The following rule will not apply until August 31, 2017:
- Providers must include 10, 11, and 12 year olds in the total count of children they care for.
*However, these exceptions only apply to children who were already being cared for by the provider on December 4, 2014. For example, if a provider was caring for three 1-year old children on December 4, 2014, they can continue to care for those children until January 1, 2015.
To read the entire Ontario Ministry of Education’s FAQ, click here.
Read the Bill here