Operating a Child Care Business

For information and operational guidance during COVID-19, read the Ministry of Education’s Operational Guidance for Child Care During COVID-19 Outbreak. Child care centres should continue to monitor for new guidance from the Ministry of Education or Ministry of Health.

Owners/operators of day camps can consult the COVID-19 Safety Guidelines for Camps for information and operational guidance during COVID-19. 

Camp operators should continue to monitor for new guidance from the Ministry of Health: COVID-19 Guidance for the Health Sector.

For more information, please check the Resources for Child Care Centres and Day Camps page.

As COVID-19 recovery continues, Community Services is re-opening its Welcome Spaces and resuming in-person service. However, things look a little different as we work together to stay healthy. Find out what you need to know before you visit. If you have questions about operating a child care centre or licensed home child care program, please call 519-575-4400 or email CHSAdmin@regionofwaterloo.ca.

If you would like to open or purchase a licensed child care centre or run a licensed child care program out of your home, the Region of Waterloo can help you get started. We also provide funding to help home child care agencies and child care centres support and retain staff.

Operating a child care centre

Know the requirements and regulations
The Ministry of Education  licenses and monitors early learning and child care in Ontario.  To apply for and maintain a licence, you must follow the requirements and regulations under the Child Care and Early Years Act.  If you plan to build or renovate a child care centre, you will need to follow the Ministry's planning and design guidelines.  
Deciding where to locate
To see where existing licensed early learning and child care centres are in Waterloo Region, check out the interactive map on the Child Wellbeing Dashboard

Funding and service contract 

Expanding the number of high quality licensed child care spaces in Waterloo Region is a high priority in the recently released Early Years and Child Care Service System Plan.

While Children’s Services anticipates there will be funding to support child care operators through the Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Plan, details will not be known until after Ontario signs the agreement.

At this time, Children’s Services is implementing a temporary pause on new applications for fee subsidy purchase of service for any programs that are not located in publicly funded schools. All programs that are planning an expansion should be aware that funding eligibility requirements and priorities may change in the coming months and years.


If you have any questions, please contact CHSAdmin@regionofwaterloo.ca.


Operating home child care

As a caregiver, who would I work for? 

Home child care agencies are licensed by the Ministry of Education to contract with people who wish to provide child care in their home (known as caregivers).  Caregivers are self-employed business owners who receive support from the agencies' Early Childhood Educators. 

We provide support and monitor compliance

Licensed home child care agencies monitor caregivers' homes to ensure they comply with provincial regulations in the Child Care and Early Years Act (2014).  These agencies:

  • Meet with you monthly in your home while you are providing care;
  • Refer families to your home child care;
  • Help you connect with other providers;
  • Provide training and workshops; and
  • Work with you, families, and community agencies to include children with special needs.

How to become a caregiver 

If you would like to become a licensed caregiver in Waterloo Region, contact one of these home child care agencies to get started:  

Funding for licensed staff and home child caregivers

 Wage enhancements

If you are a licensed child care centre or home child care agency, you can apply for wage enhancement funding. Please contact Children's Services for more information at CHSFunding@regionofwaterloo.ca

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