Resources for Canadian Parents

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CRRU's main focus is early childhood education and care policy research. However, as a national ECEC organization, we often receive calls and emails from parents with questions about accessing child care and managing their child care arrangements. In an effort to assist, we have developed a website to provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding ECEC that we receive from Canadian parents.

The Finding quality childcare website provides information for parents looking for quality child care that's affordable and meets the needs of their families. will help parents find out why it's hard to find good child care, about child care options in each province and territory, general information about child care in Canada, what the best evidence says about quality, and how to improve your chances of accessing high-quality child care.  

The Finding quality child care:  A guide for parents in Canada project provides resources for Canadian parents in understanding and accessing high-quality child care to meet their, and their children's needs. This website and video were developed by the Childcare Resource and Research Unit (CRRU) and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW).

Finding child care

Where do I go to find a child care provider?

Most provincial/territorial governments provide lists or online search tools of licensed child care centres and family child care homes. See provincial/territorial profiles on

Accessing fee subsidy

How do I find and apply for child care fee subsidy? How do I know if I am eligible?

Availability of fee subsidy and criteria for receiving subsidy are different in each province. See the provincial pages on the Finding Quality Childcare website for details. In some areas there are waiting lists to receive fee subsidies. In all cases, parents should apply for subsidies well in advance to receive financial support.

To better understand how subsidies work see CRRU's working paper Child Care Fee Subsidies in Canada by Jane Beach and Martha Friendly.

Quality child care

What is quality in childcare and does it matter?

Quality child care in focus: What parents should look for is a video designed for parents of young children in Canada. Filmed in a number of community-based non-profit and public child care centres, it “shows and tells” about the elements of good quality centre-based child care that parents should look for, beginning with the basics—regulation, health and safety, as well as the physical environment, programming, staffing, relationship with parents, and public management and public funding.

Quality child care in focus: What parents should look for from CRRU on Vimeo.

Questions and concerns

What do I do if I have a concern regarding my child's care? / I disagree with a policy at my child's centre. What can I do?

If you have a serious concern about a situation in your child's centre or family child care, such as a possible licensing infraction, contact information for the appropriate licensing office has been provided in each provincial section.

If you have a question about your child's care or disagree with a policy at your centre you should first try talking with the caregiver/staff and explain your concerns. In many cases issues can be resolved with open communication and understanding.

  • Pick a good time to talk to the staff (or the operator or supervisor of the program);
  • Drop-off and pick-up times are busy and are usually not good times to talk;
  • You can schedule a time to talk about your concerns. That way, both you and the caregiver will be ready to talk.

If talking doesn't solve the problem, then use the links for each provincial section to find out the appropriate provincial authority to go to for help.

Getting involved

How do I become more involved in the ECEC community? How do I become involved in advocating for better child care?

The main national advocacy group for better child care is the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada. Many provinces have child care coalitions or advocacy groups; these have been listed at How to get involved in the child care community. In some provinces the only formal group is a child care professional association, a body made up of early childhood educators working in the field. In provinces without a formal child care advocacy group, these associations have been listed as a starting point for getting in touch with people in the child care movement.