A child care fee subsidy helps a family with the cost of licensed child care.
Who can apply
A family who needs help with the cost of licensed child care for their children (up to 12 years old) and meet the following criteria.
- lives in Toronto,
- is moving to Toronto, or
- you are an employee of the City of Toronto
Each parent/guardian is either
- looking for work,
- in school or planning to go to school, or
- if you or your child has a special need you can also apply
Each parent/guardian has submitted their most recent Income Tax Return
- If you are a new immigrant to Canada this year or if you are under 18 years of age, you may apply without your most recent Tax Return
How to apply
There is a waitlist for fee subsidy so apply as soon as possible. You can apply as soon as you know you are pregnant or expecting a child through adoption.
Note: If you receive Ontario Works, contact your Ontario Works caseworker to apply.
To apply, you will need
Proof of income
Your child care choices
You will need the names of the child care programs you are interested in. Parents should phone and visit each child care program to make sure it meets your family's needs. Our looking for child care page can help you find a program.
Important: You cannot use the online application to re-apply, change your address, phone number, child care choices or to add a new child to your application, please call 416-392-5437 to make any of these changes.
A letter will be sent to you in the mail confirming your application.
Once you have applied, you will receive a letter letting you know if you are eligible to be placed on the City’s first-come first-served subsidy waitlist.
Important: Keep this letter. It confirms your waitlist date and your client file number.
Contact the child care programs you are interested in.
You need to contact all the child care programs you are interested in and let them know you are waiting for a vacancy. Also, let the child care program know you are on the waitlist for a child care fee subsidy.
When your name comes to the top of the fee subsidy waitlist, a child care fee subsidy caseworker will contact you to arrange a meeting.
When your name comes to the top of the fee subsidy waitlist, a child care fee subsidy caseworker from Toronto Children’s Services will contact you to come in to one of our offices for a meeting to discuss your eligibility and your child care options.
At the meeting, if all eligibility criteria are met, you will officially be offered a fee subsidy and you will be given a period of time to find a child care program.
Once you have received a child care fee subsidy, the following information is important for you to know:
To maintain your subsidy you must:
- Pay your fees to the child care program - learn more
- Report changes (examples include changes to your family, job, address, phone number and more)
- Respond to all requests for information by the deadline
- Renew your fee subsidy each year with your caseworker - learn more
- File your income tax return on time
- Get to know other requirements that may apply to you
How to plan for your family's future child care needs
Your family's child care needs will change over time and your Caseworker will help you develop a child care plan to prepare for these changes.
Your Caseworker can help you to transfer to another child care program if
- your child outgrows their current child care program
- a physical space is not available in the next age group
- your current child care program no longer meets your family's needs.
How to appeal a child care fee subsidy decision
The Toronto Children's Services Client Liaison Consultant provides supports to families and, manages the appeal process within divisional policies and procedures. Learn more
Frequently asked questions about child care fee subsidy
- What if my child is absent from the child care program?
- What if I become unemployed?
- What if I become pregnant?
- What if I want to transfer or withdraw from the child care program?
- What if I have concerns, complaints or don't agree with a decision about my eligibility?
- What if I have concerns or complaints about the child care program my child attends?
- How do I plan for the changing needs of my child as he/she grows?
- My child has special needs, is there extra support available?
- Will I be able to keep my fee subsidy in a Kindergarten Before-and After-School Program?
- If I am a student, what happens if I'm planning to stay home during the summer?
- What if I'm a student and plan to work full time during the summer months until the school year starts again?
- What if I'm a student and plan to look for work when I'm not in school?
What if my child is absent from the child care program?
When your child is absent, contact the child care program directly to report the absence and the expected date of return.
Absent days include any day that your child is on vacation, sick or absent for any other reason. Statutory holidays or days that the child care program does not offer service are not considered absent days.
If you receive a fee subsidy, your child is allowed to be absent for up to 35 days each calendar year (or up to 18 days if admitted after July 1st).
You are responsible for paying your assessed fee when your child is absent but if your child is absent more than the allowable number of absent days in the calendar year or if an absence is more than 20 consecutive days, you will be responsible for paying the full fee.
If your child has a documented special need or if there are extenuating circumstances, including when your child will be absent due to medical issues or when you are planning an extended travel arrangement, you may request up to 50 absent days through an appeals process.
To appeal, you will need to complete an Absent days Extension form OR contact your Caseworker and provide documents to confirm the reason for the additional absent days to support your appeal.
If your appeal is not approved, you will be responsible for paying the full fee if your child will be absent for more than the allowable days.
What if I become unemployed?
If you become unemployed, you will continue to receive a child care fee subsidy for up to three months within any 12 month period so you can look for a job. This gives you time to look for work and re-enter the workforce without disrupting your child care arrangements.
What if I become pregnant?
If you become pregnant, your fee subsidy can continue until four weeks after the birth of your baby. Your child will be readmitted into care on a priority basis provided that funding for fee subsidy is available and provided there is a physical space in the child care program.
Don't forget that if you will need child care for the new baby, you can get on the waiting list before your child is born, so apply early and tell us when your baby is born so we have up to date information.
What if I want to transfer or withdraw from the child care program?
If you plan to leave the child care program or transfer to another program, you must tell the child care program (in writing) and contact your caseworker at least two weeks in advance. Some child care programs need more than two weeks notice.
You must pay a penalty fee of one week's full fee if you do not give enough notice. You must pay all outstanding fees before leaving the program. We will not approve a transfer if you have outstanding fees.
If there is no space in the child care program that you want to transfer to, we will put you on the waiting list and contact you when there is physical space.
Make sure you contact the program you want ahead of time to find out about their policies and procedures and if you have to pay a deposit or registration fee.
What if I have concerns, complaints or don't agree with a decision about my eligibility?
- If your caseworker or the supervisor is unable to help you with your subsidy concerns or complaints, or you want to appeal a decision about your eligibility, you may contact the Children's Services Client Liaison Consultant, who can assist you in finding the child care answers you need. The Client Liaison Consultant manages the Children's Services appeal process, addresses administrative fairness and provides support to clients within the divisional policy and procedures. Contact the Client Liaison Consultant at 416-397-1262.
- The Toronto Children's Services Client Liaison Consultant can help with:
- Resolving your concerns
- Addressing child care complaints
- Appealing decisions about eligibility for fee subsidy
- An applicant will have the right to appeal policy, procedure or a decision related to their eligibility for child care fee subsidy.
The option of appealing should be discussed first with a caseworker.
A client who is appealing must submit a letter of appeal, addressed to the Appeal Committee to the District Office, with supporting documentation, if appropriate.
- The Client Liaison Consultant will prepare your appeal and forward it to the Appeal Committee on your behalf.
- You will be contacted by the District Office and advised of the final Appeal Committee decision. In addition, you will receive a letter confirming the decision.
What if I have concerns or complaints about the child care program my child attends?
If you are not happy with the child care service, discuss your concerns with the centre supervisor or home child care provider/agency.
If you would like to make a complaint or discuss a concern about the standard of care your child is receiving, contact a Children's Services Consultant by calling 416-397-7359.
How do I plan for the changing needs of my child as he/she grows?
Planning ahead so your child care arrangement continues to meet your ongoing child care needs is important. Your caseworker will review your child care plan with you as part of the annual eligibility review. Your caseworker can help you arrange a transfer if a physical space is not available in the next age group that your child would normally progress to. For example: if your child is overage for the program; if the current program does not provide escort to your child's school; or if the child care program does not meet your child care needs.
My child has special needs, is there extra support available?
The City of Toronto believes that every child belongs. We recognize that there are times when you may need more support with your child care arrangements. Special Needs Resource staff specialize in services for children with special needs and can assist you at any time. For contact information, go to the A to Z listing, click on your centre and at bottom of your centre's registry page you will find the name and telephone number of the Resource staff.
Will I be able to keep my fee subsidy in a Kindergarten Before-and After-School Program?
Children who already have a child care fee subsidy will keep that subsidy for the Before– and After–School Program. The fee subsidy will remain with your child.
If I am a student, what happens if I'm planning to stay home during the summer?
You will only receive a fee subsidy for the time that you are in a full-time activity (e.g. full-time school, employment or job searching). For example, if you do not attend school during the summer, but will return in September, you will not receive a fee subsidy for your child or children during the summer months when you are off.
Important: Be sure to discuss your plans for the summer with your Caseworker, before your school/training ends so you are not caught unprepared.
You will need to provide verification of school registration for September at which time your child/ren will be placed back on the waitlist. Your child/ren will be considered for readmission on a priority basis, provided fee subsidy is available and there is a space available in the child care program.
Important: There is no guarantee that fee subsidy will be available when you are ready to return to school even though you are given priority readmission on the waitlist.
What if I'm a student and plan to work full time during the summer months until the school year starts again?
As long as you are involved in full time employment or school, you will be eligible for your fee subsidy. However, you will need to provide verification of full-time employment to your Toronto Children's Services Caseworker so your file can be updated.
What if I'm a student and plan to look for work when I'm not in school?
You may be given up to three months of job search time in a 12-month period. For example, if you received a fee subsidy while searching for a job the previous summer, you might have used your three months up and may have to wait until 12 months have passed to be eligible for job search time again.
If you have questions or are not sure of how much job search time you are eligible for, contact your Caseworker.