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.

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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.

Ottawa

    In Ontario, school boards are required to provide before- and after-school programs for full-day kindergarten students at schools where there is interest from the families of at least 20 children. The programs run from about 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., although exact times vary. Some schools may offer before- and after-school programs run by third-party child-care providers. Some of the schools may also offer programs for older children, including programs during school breaks or on professional development (PD) days when no classes take place.

Québec

    Québec has similar programs that are also integrated with the school day. Child-care centres and day-care centres must hold a permit from the Ministère de la Famille and respect the laws that govern them. Most regulated child-care services offer spaces at a reduced price. Parents who send their children to a school child-care service, for a minimum of 2.5 hours a day and at least three days a week, pay minimal daily fees. However, other costs such as fees for meals eaten at school or special activities organized by the child-care service may be added. More information is available at www.immigration-quebec.gouv.qc.ca/en/education/chi...

Alberta

    In Alberta, there are several kinds of child-care facilities:
  • Day-care centers and approved family day homes are for children under the age of six. These two centers provide care and learning through child development and play activities.
  • Licensed out-of-school care centers provide care for children between the ages of six and twelve. Children at least four-and-a-half years of age, who are enrolled in an Early Childhood Services program, are also eligible to stay in one of these centres.
  • Drop-in centres provide child-care services for parents who need occasional care for their children. More information about child care in Alberta is available at www.albertacanada.com/immigration/living/family-ch...

British Columbia

    The BC government has a child-care services map. This web service allows users to select the specific services and times they need and then choose the city. A map will display the locations of child-care services that match their criteria. The website for this service is: http://maps.gov.bc.ca/ess/hm/ccf/.