In Canada, children younger than twelve years old are not permitted to stay at home alone. They must be supervised by a person fourteen years old or older. Child care services are available in child-care centres and in private homes. It is advisable to choose a child care centre (also known as a daycare centre) that is licensed and monitored by local service providers.
Care can often be provided in different languages or can be geared toward special dietary or cultural/religious requirements. Many child-care facilities have waiting lists, so it is important to contact them as early as possible.
Daycare is regulated by the province, but unlike the formal education system, it is the responsibility of the parents to locate a child care facility and pay all associated fees. Daycare can be quite expensive, especially in Ontario, where daycare in Toronto costs an average of $1,750 per month. In Vancouver, daycare costs, on average, approximately $1,360 per month, while in Calgary it costs around $1,250 per month and approximately $990 per month in Edmonton. Québec, on the other hand, has greater government oversight and regulation of childcare programs. There is a graduated fee that rises proportionately with one’s income. The rates start at $8.05 per day, and rise to $21.95 per day for households with incomes over $165,005. This amounts to a maximum of approximately $570 per month, the lowest in Canada. For more information on daycare in Canada, visit http://findingqualitychildcare.ca/.
The provinces also offer integrated before- and after-school programs, which provide children with more opportunities to learn and grow and offer a seamless day with fewer transitions for children and families.