Childcare services in Québec

Ministère de la Famille

In Québec, there are different types of early childhood education and care service and applicable standards vary depending on the type of service chosen by the parents.

Recognized childcare services

Certain childcare services are recognized under the Educational Childcare Act. They must:

  • hold a permit issued by the Ministère or be recognized by the home childcare coordinating office
  • comply with the Act and its regulations
  • apply an early childhood educational program fostering the overall development of young children

Permit holders are inspected by Ministère staff members. In the case of home childcare providers, they receive compliance visits by home childcare coordinating office staff members.

No recognized childcare services

Some childcare services are not recognized under the Act. These services:

  • are not required to hold a permit issued by the Ministère or to be recognized by a home childcare coordinating office
  • are not obliged to apply an educational program
  • are not inspected by the Ministère, except in the event of a complaint, or given compliance visits by a home childcare coordinating office

For example, community drop-in day care centres and nursery schools are No recognized childcare services. A childcare service that cares for no more than 6 children may also be No recognized. It must still meet certain legal and regulatory requirements, but does not have to comply with those that apply only to recognized childcare services.

Illegal childcare services

Unless certain requirements are met, it is illegal to provide childcare services in exchange for remuneration without having obtained recognition from a home childcare coordinating office or a permit issued by the Ministère.

Parents who have doubts regarding the legality of a childcare service are invited to contact the Service des renseignements of the Ministère.

Online
www.mfa.gouv.qc.ca

By telephone
Ministère de la Famille
Throughout Québec: 1-855-336-8568

The following table presents the characteristics of childcare and day care service facilities. On page 788, you will find a table presenting the characteristics of home childcare service providers.

Childcare centre (permit holder) Reducedcontribution spaces Service recognized under the Act Cost - Calculation tools Main characteristics Number of children Parent participation
Childcare centre
(a non-profit organization or a cooperative)

Yes

Yes

Basic contribution per day, determined by regulation, payable to the childcare centre

and

An additional annual contribution depending on the family income*

Premises set up specifically for the childcare service

Children usually divided into groups based on age

Presence of a number of educators

80 children maximum

Educator to number of children ratios depending on the children’s age must be respected

Board of directors composed of a majority of parents

Subsidized day care centre
(a natural or legal person, usually non-profit)

Yes

Yes

Parent advisory committee

Non-subsidized day care centre
(a natural or legal person, usually non-profit)

No

Yes

Contribution determined by the childcare centre

Costs eligible for the tax credit for childcare expenses

Possibility of obtaining advance payments on a monthly basis

* The additional contribution is paid to Revenu Québec when filing the annual income tax return.

Home childcare providers Reduced-contribution spaces Service recognized under the Act Cost - Calculation tools Main characteristics Number of children Parent participation
Home childcare provider (subsidized)
Recognized by a home childcare coordinating office

Yes

Yes

Basic contribution per day, determined by regulation, payable to the childcare centre

and

An additional annual contribution depending on the family income*

Self-employed worker

Private residence

Children in multiage groups

Presence of the person in charge and, sometimes, an assistant

A person in charge non-assisted by another adult: 6 children maximum (including his or her own), of which 2 may be infants (below 18 months of age)

Person in charge assisted by another adult: 9 children maximum (including his or her own and those of the assistant), of which 4 may be infants

Board of directors of the coordinating office, on which parents can sit

Home childcare provider (non-subsidized)
Recognized by a home childcare coordinating office

No

Yes

Contribution determined by the childcare centre

Costs eligible for the tax credit for childcare expenses

Possibility of obtaining advance payments on a monthly basis

Provider of childcare in a private residence that meets certain requirements
Not recognized by a home childcare coordinating office

No

No

Self-employed worker

Children in multiage groups

6 children maximum (including his or her own), of which 2 may be infants (under 18 months of age)

No participation required

* The additional contribution is paid to Revenu Québec when filing the annual income tax return.

Educational program

Recognized early childhood education and care services have an obligation to apply an educational program. This program must promote the development of young children on all levels (physical, motor, emotional, social, language, and cognitive). Among other things, it must also promote educational success and help children learn healthy lifestyle habits and adapt to communal life.

The Ministère de la Famille’s publishes the Accueillir la petite enfance program to serve as an inspiration to childcare service providers in designing their educational programs.

In order to take into account the particularity of early child development, educators and persons in charge of recognized home childcare services are invited to respect each child’s learning speed, show appreciation for their playing style, help them as they explore their interests, and work in partnership with their parents.

In so doing, childcare services prepare children for a good start in their schooling by enhancing their pleasure and capacity to learn.

Finding a childcare service

Parents looking for a place in a recognized childcare centre (childcare centre, daycare or home childcare service) must register with La Place 0-5, single-window access to subsidized childcare service places.

Online
www.laplace0-5.com
www.mfa.gouv.qc.ca

By telephone
La Place 0-5
Montréal area: 514-270-5055
Elsewhere in Québec: 1-844-270-5055