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Home Daycare Regulations

Updated on January 20, 2018

Is Your Child's Private Home Daycare Safe?


Unlicensed Home Daycare

It's sad that in Canada that there is a shortage for licensed daycare. Anyone that wants to can run a private unlicensed daycare. There is only one rule the unlicensed home daycare's have to follow, which is how many children they are allowed to look after. So many caregivers ignore this rule. There are private daycare's throughout the country, with some having up to 30 children being looked after by one adult. How can one person look after so many children? In my opinion it's impossible.

Number of Children Allowed at Unliciensed Home Daycare in Canada

Province and Territories
Number of Children allowed
British Columbia
not including caregiver's children
including caregiver's children
there are age stipulations in this province
including caregiver's children
not including caregiver's children
including caregiver's children
Nova Scotia
including caregiver's children
New Brunswick
including caregiver's children
Newfoundland and Labrador
including caregiver's children
Prince Edward Island
including caregiver's children
Northwest Territories
including caregiver's children
including caregiver's children
including caregiver's children

Private Unlicensed Day Care's

How many children are you allowed to look after in a private unlicensed day care where you live?

See results

What You Need to Know and Ask Before Leaving Your Children at a Private Home Daycare

  • How many children do you look after at one time, and what are their ages?
  • What is your background as far as childcare goes?
  • Do you have first aide knowledge or training?
  • Would you be willing to go through a criminal background check?
  • Would I be able to get three references from people that have children in your care or from past parents that have used your services?

Check out the home yourself

It's always a good idea to see where your child will be playing, sleeping, and eating.

  • Is the home safe, clean, large enough to care for children?
  • Is there a pool either inside or in the backyard?
  • Is there a backyard; is it safe, and is it fenced?
  • Is there a place where children nap?
  • Does anyone in the home of the daycare provider smoke?
  • Does the care provider have pets?
  • Look at the toys and make sure that they are safe, clean and well maintained.

Once You Find a Private Home Daycare

You may want to stipulate that if your child is to be taken off of the premises of the daycare home you'd like to be informed at least one day beforehand. If your child is going to be transported in a vehicle you'll need to know so that you can leave the provider with a car seat if necessary.

Should your child have food allergies the daycare provider should be informed of this.

All emergency numbers should be left with the daycare provider.

Always be clear about the cost that is involved, and when payment is to be made.

What to Discuss With The Daycare Provider

Ask the provider to run through a typical day with you such as:

  • What activities do you provide?
  • Do you have set lunch and snack times?
  • Do the children have a set rest or nap time?
  • If I'm going to be late and unable to pick up my child at a certain time will this be a problem?
  • If you are ill do you have someone else to step in for you and care for my child?

Complaints Against Unlicensed Daycare's in Ontario

From January of 2010 to December of 2012 there were a total of 757 complaints made in the province of Ontario regarding the number of children that were being cared for in private home daycare's.

Canada Needs more Licensed Daycare's

Unlicensed Daycare's Are In the USA Too

Private vs Licensed Daycare

Which type of Daycare have you used?

See results

A personal note from Just Ask Susan

When my boys were small and I was working away from the home, I used private daycare myself. I knew the lady and her daughter quite well before taking my children to her. I must admit that she had more than her legal limit but at the same time there were always enough adults with her that were quite capable of helping her out. My boys loved to go to Bonnie's. I can remember so many days that I would go to pick them up and it would be a fight to get them out of there because they were having so much fun. I always felt safe leaving my boys in her care.

Thank you for reading my hub. If you'd like to read more of my HubPage articles please stop by my profile page, and have a great day.

© 2013 Susan Zutautas


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    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Hi Peg, Yes I was very fortunate.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      3 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      I've seen so many horror stories involving licensed daycare that I would cringe at the idea of taking my kids to an unlicensed one. Sanitation and contagious illnesses are two major concerns, plus safety and proper supervision with a single person providing care. Sounds like you were lucky with your boys finding someone you could trust.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      vespawoolf, Thanks for sharing that as I always like to learn how these type of things are handled in other countries.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      Vespa Woolf 

      7 years ago from Peru, South America

      It's nice that you had a good experience with private daycare when your boys were growing up. It's a good sign when the children have so much fun that they don't want to go home! Recently, Peru began to regulate home daycare and now workers are paid by the State. Regulations are fairly strict, so it seems the situation has improved here. I think one daycare worker is allowed to care for 6 children at a time. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Interesting! I was going to answer your poll but I couldn't as the answer in my area (Massachusetts) is 0! In MA you can not provide regular childcare for a non-relative in your home without a license. If you go into the child/families home (i.e. a nanny or aupair) you are exempt but anytime you are providing childcare in your home you must have a license, unless it is a relative or it is an informal, occasional type of situation with a neighbor or such.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Sue, There are good ones and not so good ones. I was lucky when my boys were of the age to go to daycare. Parents now a days really need to their homework when it comes to child care.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hi Susan,

      I think there are those out there that taking in kids is an easy way to make money. The more kids, the more money they make. If I had children, I would not want to leave them in this type of care.

      Voted up and interesting

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks Rajan.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      8 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Daycare facilities are necessary. But checking out these facilities well before availing their services is a crucial homework that needs to be done. Your hub and the suggestions here are excellent.

      Voted up and useful.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      RH, I think lately its gotten worse with the private daycare's around here anyway. I think the government needs to step in and do something about it. Especially when kids are not being treated properly and some even dying. I'm glad my days of using daycare's are long gone :)

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      8 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      I'm not sure what the limit is here...I think it goes by State.

      I've used both private and licensed daycare and have had mixed experiences. Of course, we're going back 25 years...OW!

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks for stopping by sharingknowledge

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Prasetio, I find that interesting about your country that there are no regulations. Thanks for commenting and for voting too.

    • prasetio30 profile image


      8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Very interesting hub. There's no daycare regulation in my country. So, I learn much here about another culture, especially from Canada. But we can find a baby care service in big city like Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. UP and useful : -)


    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Susan, I have a neighbor that does daycare and I know that she has way over her limit and I've been thinking I really should report her.

      Thanks so much for reading and for your comments.

      Audrey, Thanks so much.

      healthylife2, When my boys were little, way before they started school I was a stay at home mom. It was only when they were in school that I used private daycare. I did interview a few places that I would never bring my boys to. I was so happy to have them with someone I knew and trusted.

    • sharingknowledge profile image

      SHAR NOR 

      8 years ago from Miami, FL

      Just passing by to say thanks for the Hub. It so nice i must admit.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      As a result of the economy there are so many situations where both parents work so this article will help so many by recommending the questions to ask. I think one key is something you mentioned in your personal experience and that was feeling comfortable about where you leave them. Although I stayed home I still was cautious with babysitters and had to feel that comfort level. Voted up and shared!

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Rose, Not only in Canada it goes on in the USA as well.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Hi Sheri, I was surprised when doing a bit of research for this hub that Saskatchewan was so high.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Frank, Always nice to see you. Thanks so much!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      8 years ago from California

      Such a great article Susan!

    • sholland10 profile image

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      I used both friends and family and a licensed daycare. We have very strict laws about how many children can be in an unlicensed daycare, and it seems that people do not have a problem turning them into the authorities.

      Like your boys, my kids loved the daycares they stayed in, too. :-)

      The licensed daycares have limits of children per adult. It has been a long time, so I don't remember the ratio.

      The questions to address before signing up for a daycare are so important. Many are so strict. I can understand why, but some go too far and don't allow you to be late every once in a while or they have extraordinarily long nap times (not a good sign).

      Great hub!! Votes and shares!!

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      8 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Wow, I had no idea that anyone can run an unlicensed daycare in Canada. How scary! This is a wonderful resource for all parents seeking daycare, regardless of where they live.

    • Sheri Faye profile image

      Sheri Dusseault 

      8 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      That is funny that each province allows different amounts of kids. This is good information. When my kids were young enough to need daycare it was always a tough choice.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      FlourishAnyway, I feel fortunate to have had someone that I knew and trusted. Thanks for your comments.

      peachpurple, Thank you and I agree it sometimes is the better choice to leave your children with relatives.

      wilderness, Our daycare's here in Canada that are licensed have very strict rules. Some of the private ones that are not registered with the government in anyway are the ones with problems.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Rebecca, Thanks for stopping by and for commenting. I'd thought too a few years ago of opening my home for daycare but I started writing online instead.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      8 years ago from Shelton

      Daycare nowadays are used more and more because of the two parent working households.. love the times when mom stayed home and dad worked.. I learned a lot from my mom.. Look at me floating toward my past when I should be saying this is an important well measured hub :) JustaskSusan if you don't believe me :)

    • wilderness profile image

      Dan Harmon 

      8 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      My wife ran a home daycare for several years in the states and the regulations were many and burdensome. Not necessarily bad, but often difficult to comply with all the time.

      Not only were there strict child limits, but home inspections were carried out by the state periodically for safety violations. We had to submit menus following federal guidelines each month. A lock box had to be available for medications. Each child had to have a hand towel. Of course such safety things as outlet covers and stairway gates had to be there.

      The list was very long of regulations that had to be complied with, but overall it is a good thing. I'd say Canada has a ways to go here. 30 kids per adult is an accident waiting to happen.

    • peachpurple profile image


      8 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      nice hub. I don't depend on daycare coz i am a housewife. But if i do, i would hand my kids to my in laws instead. Feel safer and at ease when working.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      There is a huge lack of affordable, quality, safe daycare. It is a major reason I stayed out of the workforce full-time for several years after getting my doctorate. There are some terrible providers out there, and they ruin it for the decent ones. I'm glad I had the option.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      8 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Very cool and very informative. I was considering doing this a few years ago. I know this home daycare info would have been most intriguing.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      drbj, It's pretty scary. Times sure have changed since my children were little.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      I cannot fathom a daycare center where only one adult is there to look after up to 30 children. That is monstrous and an invitation for trouble. Thanks, Susan, for listing these realistic suggestions parents should follow when choosing daycare facilities.


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