Operating a Child Care Business

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 learn more about the process. In Ontario, the Ministry of Education licenses and monitors early learning and child care. The Region of Waterloo, as service system manager, provides supports and funding to licensed child care programs and approves enrollment in the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care system. 

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.  
Enrollment in CWELCC

Child care programs wanting to open in Waterloo Region need to have their licence and revised licences reviewed by the Region of Waterloo, Children’s Services (as service system manager). Children’s Services will advise whether the new licence/licence revision will be eligible for participation in the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care system. Due to limited funding, there is no guarantee of CWELCC funding for the majority of community-based expansions opening between 2023-2026. 

The 2024-2025 CWELCC Enrollment Application is closed and applicants will be notified in June 2024 of the results. If you would like to be notified when the next CWELCC Enrollment Application process opens, please fill out the form to be added to the contact list.

If you are considering program changes or a new licence, please contact Children’s Services at CHSadmin@regionofwaterloo.ca when you are in the early stages of planning to discuss eligibility for CWELCC.

Deciding where to locate 

As outlined the in the Early Years and Child Care Service System Plan, expanding the number of high quality licensed child care spaces in Waterloo Region is a high priority for the Region of Waterloo. 

CWELCC growth will be targeted to ensure new spaces support families who most need affordable child care. The Region of Waterloo has determined thirteen priority areas for targeted growth of new community-based child care centres. These priority areas went forward and were approved by Regional Council on April 19, 2023. To see where the priority areas for child care growth are located, check out the interactive Child Care Growth Priority Areas map

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.
Support for home child care providers

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 child care programs

 Wage enhancements

If you are a licensed child care centre or home child care agency, you may be eligible to apply for funding to support and retain staff including wage enhancement funding. Please contact Children's Services for more information at CHSadmin@regionofwaterloo.ca

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