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 (hereinafter called the 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 monitoring visits by home childcare coordinating office staff members.

Non recognized childcare services

There is a type of childcare contemplated (and therefore regulated) by the Act, but it is not recognized. It is childcare provided by a natural person, who must respect eight conditions including the conditions to provide services in a private residence and to care for a maximum of six children. To the extent that the person respects the eight conditions, the person:

  • is not required to hold a permit issued by the Ministère or to be recognized by a home childcare coordinating office
  • is not required to apply an educational program
  • is not subject to inspections by the Ministère, except in the case of a complaint concerning compliance with the requirements with which the person must comply, and is not subject to monitoring visits by a home child care coordinating office.

Unregulated childcare services (not contemplated by the Act)

Certain organizations that offer childcare activities are completely excluded from the Act and are not subject to any standard established by the Act. Those organizations include, amongst others:

  • day camps
  • public or community organizations that provide temporary childcare services as a complement or addition to their main activities, in the context of their overall mandate or during a specific activity with parents or children

Illegal childcare services

Unless a person has an unregulated organization or provides unrecognized regulated childcare services, it is illegal to provide childcare services in exchange a contribution from a parent, 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 Centre des services à la clientèle et des plaintes 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. You will also find a table presenting the characteristics of home childcare service providers.

Childcare centre (permit holder) Reduced-contribution 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
  • 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

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
  • 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

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

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, moral, 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) 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