Child Care and Children's Programs

Child Care Fee Subsidy

The Child Care Fee Subsidy Program helps qualifying families cover the cost of licensed child care for children up to the age of 12.

The Children's Services Division provides child care fee subsidy to eligible families in Durham Region. In order to apply, parents or legal guardians must be working, attending school, or receiving Ontario Works benefits while participating in an approved activity, or they must have a recognized need for themselves or their child.

Please note: the information on this website is only a guideline, and is subject to change. It does not reflect all policies and procedures of the Children's Services Division. If you require further clarification on any of the information presented here, please contact the Children's Services Division at 905-666-6238 or toll-free at 1-800-387-0642.

How to apply for child care fee subsidy

The Central Office is located at: 605 Rossland Rd. E. Whitby ON L1N 6A3 Phone: 605-666-6238 Fax: 605-666-6220 Toll-free: 1-800-387-0642

Click here to fill out a child-care subsidy application online

To apply for child-care subsidy, you must fill out an online application or call the Children's Services Division Central Office at 905-666-6238 or toll-free at 1-800-387-0642. The Intake Clerk will obtain basic information, and your family will be placed on the wait list.

Once your name is added to the wait list, you will receive a letter in the mail confirming your wait list date. The Region of Durham manages the wait list on a "first-come, first-served" basis. Applicants for child care fee subsidy must file an income tax return annually, and provide their Revenue Canada Income Tax Notice of Assessment or Canada Child Tax Benefit Notice to the Region when requested. When your name reaches the top of the list, you will be contacted to arrange an intake interview to assess eligibility. At this time, you will be advised of the date, time and place of your interview, as well as the required documentation you will need for the appointment. This call will be followed up with a letter confirming your appointment.

Please note: if you receive Ontario Works benefits, you need to contact your Ontario Works Caseworker to ask about being approved for child care fee subsidy.

How is financial eligibility determined?

Eligibility is determined at your intake interview using a provincially mandated income test.

Eligibility for child care fee subsidy is based on line "236" of the Revenue Canada Income Tax Notice of Assessment, residence in Durham Region and participation in an approved activity.

During the interview, you will be advised of your assessed parent rate. (The amount you will be required to pay towards the cost of child care.) You will also be advised, in writing, of what changes in your circumstances need to be reported to the Children's Services Division while you are in receipt of child care fee subsidy.

NOTE: if you have arranged your own child-care placement prior to an intake interview, you are responsible for paying the full cost of care until your approved subsidy start date. The subsidy cannot be "back-dated".

How much you will pay for subsidized child care?

See the chart below to determine an estimated daily parent fee. The annual adjusted income is taken from line "236" on the Revenue Canada Income Tax Notice of Assessment, less any Universal Child Care Benefit received for that year. The daily parent fee assumes that the subsidy is being provided five days per week.

Note: no family pays more than the total cost of child care for all children. For example, if the adjusted income is $75,000, the family is eligible for subsidy, as long as the daily cost is more than $48.

Annual adjusted income Daily parent fee
$5,000 $0.00
$10,000 $0.00
$15,000 $0.00
$20,000 $0.00
$25,000 $1.92
$30,000 $3.83
$35,000 $5.75
$40,000 $7.66
$45,000 $13.41
$50,000 $19.16
$55,000 $24.90
$60,000 $30.65
$65,000 $36.40
$70,000 $42.15
$75,000 $47.89
$80,000 $53.64
$85,000 $59.39
$90,000 $65.13
$95,000 $70.88
$100,000 $76.63

If you do not have a copy of your Revenue Canada Income Tax Notice of Assessment and need a replacement, contact Revenue Canada at 1-800-959-8281 and ask for a copy to be mailed to you.

How the need for child care is determined

In addition to financial eligibility, families must continue to meet the reason for service requirements. Parents must be working, attending school or a training program, have a medical or social referral, or need a placement for a child with special needs. Families that have children with special needs can have disability-related expenses considered in determining their financial eligibility, provided these expenses were not previously deducted on an income tax return or otherwise eligible for reimbursement (e.g. insurance or government program). Receipts will be required to verify these expenses.

Parents' recognized needs for child care

Parents are recognized as being unable to care for their child. No parent in the home is able to care for the child due to participation in one or more of the following activities:

  • Employment: approval is based on the days you work and the hours you work, including a reasonable amount of travel time.
  • Education or training: attendance at an in-class, instructor-led educational or training program, including lab work, field placements, co-op placements, practicums, and case studies or team meetings. This activity includes study or preparation time and reasonable travel time. Subsidy may also be available for correspondence or online studies.
  • Self-employment: client has a business plan, and meets the definition of self-employed.

Other recognized needs for child care

  • Special needs: A child who has a physical or mental impairment that is likely to continue for a prolonged period of time and who as a result thereof is limited in activities pertaining to normal living as verified by objective psychological or medical findings and includes a child with a developmental disability.
  • Social need: the child may require child care to address a social need due to issues with the home or family environment, and is referred by an early intervention or prevention agency or other professional. Social need includes situations where the need is directly related to the child, as well as situations where the child's need is the result of a greater family need.
  • Relief care: in the opinion of a medical or other relevant professional, a parent is unable to care for the child because of an illness or disability. If there is another parent in the home, the other parent must also have a recognized need. This also includes situations where the child is at risk due to immediate child protection issues.

Recognized Need for Child Care Fee Subsidy Form

What verification is required to determine eligibility?

You will be asked to bring the following information to your interview:

  1. Verification of identification
    • Birth verification for all family member(s).
    • Proof of Canadian citizenship, or eligibility to work or attend school in Canada.
  2. Verification of residence (one of the following)
    • Current* lease, rental agreement or rent receipt showing your name and address.
    • Current* mortgage documents, showing your name and address.
    • Current* bill showing your name and address.  

    *current is defined as dated within the last two months.

  3. Income verification (for all adults in the family)
    • Current Federal Notice of Assessment and verification of the Universal Child Tax Benefit (if it is being received) or Canada Child Tax Benefit Notice.

    If you do not have a copy of your Revenue Canada Income Tax Notice of Assessment and need a replacement, contact Revenue Canada at 1-800-959-8281 and ask for a copy to be mailed to you.

  4. Custody arrangements
    • Legal documentation, divorce papers or other written agreement verifying custody arrangements (if applicable).
  5. Eligible hours of care
    • One month of pay stubs or a letter from your employer regarding the hours you work.
    • School schedule and enrolment letter that documents the start and end dates.
  6. Recognized need form
    • Funding may be available for children or parents who have a recognized need. If a child has a special or social need, or if the parent is unable to care for the child due to illness or disability, a recognized need form is required. The form can be obtained for completion by the appropriate professional and submitted prior to your appointment.
    • Child care fee subsidy for a recognized need may not be approved when children are attending school.

  Printable version of what verification is required to determine eligibility

Placement of your child(ren)

Eligibility for child care fee subsidy does not guarantee a space at a child-care centre.

Subsidy is only available in programs that have a Purchase of Service Agreement with The Regional Municipality of Durham. These programs must meet all the provincial licensing requirements, as set out in the Child Care and Early Years Act, as well as criteria set out by the Region. Regional Quality and Contract Compliance Program managers monitor these on a regular basis. They are also available to deal with any concerns or complaints you may have.

Once eligibility for child care fee subsidy has been determined, the Caseworker will facilitate a placement.

It is your responsibility to contact the centre of your choice to discuss space availability, admission requirements, centre policies, etc. If the centre of your choice does not have space, you have the right to request that your name be placed on their wait list. The Caseworker will confirm subsidy with the Supervisor of the child-care centre or agency that you have chosen. A Confirmation of Child Care Subsidy Letter is mailed to both you and the centre confirming details of the child's start date, the parent rate, approved hours of care, subsidy closure date, review date and absent allotment.

For information on the location of licensed child-care programs in Durham Region, please refer to the Child Care Directory.

Maintaining your eligibility for child care fee subsidy

Once you are receiving the child care fee subsidy, you will be expected to complete an annual review approximately every nine months. You will be contacted by mail to call the office to arrange your review.

It is your responsibility to report any changes in your situation immediately. These changes can include, but are not limited to:

  • Address - we need a current address, in order to send you the most up-to-date information. You are only eligible for subsidy through our office if you reside in Durham Region. If you move to an area outside of Durham Region, you will need to apply for child care fee Subsidy in your new area. Child care fee subsidy is not transferable.
  • Marital status or family size - advise us if you co-reside with another adult, if you get married, separate from your spouse or partner, or if the children you receive child care fee subsidy for stop living with you.
  • Employment or schooling - advise us if you start or stop a job, your work hours or days of work change, you start or stop attending school, or your current school semester ends.
  • Leave of absence from your employment - advise us if you leave your job for any reason, such as maternity or parental leave, or medical leave.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Can I be working and still receive subsidy?

Yes, clients who are employed may qualify for child care fee subsidy. You will be approved for child care based on the days and hours you work. Reasonable travel time can also be included.

Do I have to be on assistance to get subsidy?

No, you do not have to be on social assistance to receive child care fee subsidy. If you receive benefits from Ontario Works, you need to contact your Ontario Works Caseworker to ask about child care approvals.

If you will no longer be receiving benefits from Ontario Works, you have 30 days from your exit date to contact the Children's Services Division about child care fee subsidy.

If I live in Durham Region, can I obtain child care in another municipality?

For the most part, child care fee subsidy from Durham Region can only be provided if you live in the region, and receive child care from a licensed service provider that has a Purchase of Service Agreement with the Children's Services Division.

What child-care centres can I use?

You can choose any licensed service provider in Durham Region that has a Purchase of Service Agreement with the Children's Services Division. Information regarding child-care providers in Durham Region is available in the Child Care Directory.

What child-care settings can I use with child care fee subsidy?

Subsidy is available in a variety of child-care settings. The Children's Services Division has Purchase of Service agreements with centre-based operators, home child-care agencies, recreational programs and nursery schools. More than 200 child-care programs have Purchase of Service agreements with the Region of Durham. It's a good idea to visit several child-care centres and home child care agencies in your area to help you choose the program that is best for your child.

Why do I have to hand in a Recognized Need for Child Care Fee Subsidy Form?

If subsidy is required for a recognized need, the request must be supported by a referral from a doctor, or other professional in the community who has ongoing involvement with the family. The Recognized Need for Child Care Fee Subsidy Form ensures that the referring professional provides the Children's Services Division with the required information.

How is financial eligibility determined?

Financial eligibility is determined by completing an income test using your Canada Revenue Agency Notice of Assessment, line "236" less any Universal Child Care Benefit received for that year. Your Child Care Tax Benefit Notice is also accepted. All applicants are required to file an income tax return annually, in order to be considered for child care fee subsidy.

Is there a financial cut-off for child care fee subsidy?

No, there is no cut off. Income testing uses a sliding scale to calculate the subsidy rate. However, if the parent rate is determined to be higher than the cost of care, you would be deemed ineligible for child care fee subsidy.

Further information is also available through the Ministry of Education.

What age is eligible for child care fee subsidy?

Subsidy is available for children up to12 years of age. Child-care centre licenses specify the ages of the children in an operators care.

Who chooses the child-care centre?

The parent chooses the service provider. However, the service provider must have a Purchase of Service Agreement with the Children's Services Division, in order to be eligible for child care fee subsidy.