Get help with your child care costs

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Help with your daycare costs

Child care fee subsidies help a family with the cost of licensed child care. The City of Ottawa prioritizes individuals that are in most need. Wait times for a fee subsidy will vary, based on spaces and funding.

Child care fee subsidy

What is a child care fee subsidy?

  • A child care fee subsidy helps with the high cost of child care
  • A child care fee subsidy may cover all, or part of a family’s child care costs
  • The City has criteria for child care fee subsidy which prioritizes individuals that are most in need

Who can apply?

  • Families living in Ottawa 
  • Families with children 12 years of age and under
  • Families with status under Immigration and Citizenship Canada

How do I qualify for a subsidy?

To qualify for a subsidy, you must demonstrate a financial need and a reason for child care.

Reason for child care

The reason for child care includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Working (full-time, part-time, shift work or self-employed)
  • Going to school
  • Looking for work
  • Child is an individual with disabilities
  • Parent is an individual with disabilities
  • Referral by a professional agency such as the Children’s Aid Society

Financial need

The amount of subsidy provided is determined by a provincially mandated income test (line “23600” - formerly line 236 - from your Revenue Canada Notice of Assessment). Use the Child Care Subsidy Calculator below to determine how much you will pay for child care.

How do I apply for help with my child care costs?

Follow these steps complete your application:

  1. Go to the online Child Care Registry and Waitlist.
  2. If you are a new applicant, create a new account and choose a passphrase (password).
    • Returning users should log into their existing account.
  3. Complete the parent and child details information screens.
  4. Apply to the childcare programs that best meet your needs:
    1. Select the “Subsidy (I need help to pay my daycare costs)” button for each child who requires child care.
    2. Select the appropriate start date of care. For example, if you need before and after school care for the upcoming school year, enter September 1.
    3. Select the appropriate provider type (centre-based, home-based, school age or nursery) that meets your needs.
    4. Select the program type (full days, part days, before and/or after school, PD days etc..).
    5. Based on the care requirements selected, the Registry will provide you with a list of child care programs offered in the City of Ottawa. From the list, apply to the child care programs that best meet your needs.
  5. Prioritize your program choices; your number one choice should be your preferred child care service provider and program.
  6. You can estimate your monthly contribution towards the cost of care by entering the income from line 236 of the most recent Notice of Assessment in the Childcare Subsidy Calculator located in the "Help with your daycare costs" section. The calculator is also available in screen 4 (Fee Subsidy) of the child details in the Child Care Registry and Waitlist.
  7. Once you are finished your application, you will get a confirmation email telling you that your application is either complete or incomplete. If your application is incomplete, log back into the online application and give the missing information.
  8. Complete, print and sign the Child Care Subsidy Program "Rights and Responsibilities/Consent" form [ PDF - 671 KB ]. Submit your consent form and other required documents within the prescribed time (see document checklist below). Your application will not be reviewed until all your documents have been received.
  9. The City of Ottawa will contact you to confirm the status of your application. Eligibility for child care fee subsidy does not guarantee a space at a child care centre. You will be contacted by a child care provider when a space becomes available at one of your preferred programs.
  10. For technical support with your application, email  or call 1-888-722-1540.

Important: All parents on the Registry and Waitlist must log into their account every 60 days to update their information. This will ensure that child care service providers have the most current information to contact parents quickly when they have a child care space to fill. Parents who fail to log into their account after 60 days will get a reminder email at 90 days and a final notice at 120 days. At this point, parents will have 72 hours to log into their account. Failure to do so will result in a final notification advising them that their applications for child care will no longer be active in the Child Care Registry and Waitlist

Start your City of Ottawa Child Care Registry and Waitlist application  for a subsidy

Who do I pay if I have a partial fee subsidy payment or municipal centre child care fee?

Parents pay their part of child care fees directly to the City of Ottawa. The City will automatically adjust payments according to the provincial fee reduction schedule of the new Canada-Wide Early learning and Child Care (CWELCC) System. Parents have three payment options to choose from:

  1. Bank debit - Apply using the pre-authorized bank debit form
  2. Credit cardComplete the pre-authorized credit card payment form
  3. Online - Pay using the Paymentus payment system.

Contact the City’s Financial Services Unit at 613-580-2424 extension 24276 or email if you:

  • Have questions about the payment process
  • Need help to complete the forms

I am told I do not qualify for a subsidy, I disagree, how do I appeal the decision?

A parent or guardian who does not agree with a decision about a fee subsidy can ask the City for an internal review. Contact your Child Care Case Worker for information on this process. 

Can I transfer my child to a different child care service provider?

Parents can transfer their subsidy to a different child care service provider should they need to relocate their child from one program to another. This allows families to transfer as their needs for care change. Parents who wish to transfer must have an active profile on the Child Care Registry and Waitlist that lists their preferred care options. You will be contacted by a child care provider when a space becomes available at one of your preferred programs.

What do I do if my child is absent from their child care program?

Parents must contact the child care program directly to report an absence. Each child with a fee subsidy receives up to 36 allowable days each calendar year (January 1 - December 31) for absences. For more information about absences from your child care program, please contact a subsidy coordinator. A request for additional days of absence can be made through a subsidy coordinator prior to exceeding all your child's allowable absent days. Parents may complete the online Paid Days Away Request Form.

What documents do I need for child care fee subsidy applications?

You may print this Document checklist [ 103 KB ]

Submit the following documents. Your application for subsidy cannot be assessed until all required documents are received:

  • If your start date is within 3 months, you must submit your documents within 30 days.
  • If your start date is greater than 3 months, you must submit your documents within 3 months of your preferred start date.

There are five types of documents as well as a Rights and Responsibilities/Consent form:

Child Care Subsidy Program Rights and Responsibilities/Consent form [ 671 KB ]

You can complete the form online but you must print and sign a copy to submit as part of your package. You can also get a copy of the form from any of the Community and Social Support Centres 

1. Identification:

One of the following for all family members if you were born in Canada

  • Canadian Birth Certificate
  • Canadian Statement of Live Birth
  • Canadian Passport
  • Indian Status Card

Both sides of ID cards are to be copied and current.
Health Cards and Social Insurance cards are not accepted.

One of the following for each family member if you were born outside of Canada:

  • Canadian Passport
  • Canadian Citizenship Card/Certificate
  • Canadian Permanent Resident Identification
  • Confirmation of Permanent Residence in Canada (IMM5292)
  • Record of Landing (IMM1000)
  • Protected Person Status

If you do not have status in Canada, please provide verification of your Permanent Resident Application.

2. Where you live (one of the following to confirm you live in the City of Ottawa)

  • Lease or recent Notice of Rent Increase
  • Mortgage 
  • Property tax bill
  • Rent receipt with landlord’s name and phone number
  • Letter from landlord
  • Two recent utility bills (from different companies)
  • Two recent government letters (other than your Tax Information verification)

Documents submitted must be recent within the last 3 months.

3. Legal custody or guardianship of child(ren), (one of the following) where applicable 

You must provide one of the following custody documents if the other parent of your child does not reside with you or you have a child who is in your temporary care:

4. Tax information (one of the following for the most recent tax year)

  • Notice of Assessment from Canada Revenue Agency (for each parent)
  • Canada Child Benefit (CCB)
  • Canada Revenue Agency Proof of Income Statement (for each parent)

Effective July only the Notice of Assessment for the previous tax year is acceptable.
Income Tax returns and T4s are not accepted.

If you are a newcomer to Canada and have not yet filed your income tax, you must provide proof of your landing date in Canada: Record of Landing (IMM1000) and/or Canadian Permanent Resident Identification.

5. Reason for care

  • Most current and consecutive paystubs (for one month) or
  • Letter from your employer confirming the number of hours worked
Returning to Employment from maternity leave, parental leave or other
  • Letter from your employer confirming return to work date and work hours
  • EI claim summary

If self–employed and incorporated, see employed section

Studying or Training:
  • School registration with class schedule or
  • Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) Summary Assessment which states your student status (part time or full time)
Receiving Ontario Works:

You must have an active Outcome Plan with an approved activity.

Receiving Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP):

If your spouse is not a person with a disability, verification of reason for child care required.

Parent or Child is an individual with a disability

Child Care Fee Subsidy program will provide you with a medical form to be completed by your doctor

How do I submit my documents?

You can submit your documents by:


By mail or fax to any of our four Employment and Social Services Centres:

  • Central - 370 Catherine Street (near Bay Street), 2nd floor, Ottawa, K1R 5T5 - Fax: 613-238-3647
  • East - Beacon Hill Shopping Centre, 410-2339 Ogilvie Road, Ottawa, K1J 8M6 - Fax: 613-749-7143
  • South - 2020 Walkley Road (near Conroy Road), Ottawa, K1G 6S6 - Fax: 613-736-8939
  • West - 100 Constellation Drive (near Baseline and Woodroffe), 2nd floor East, Ottawa, K2G 6J8 - Fax: 613-725-5685

What is Ontario Works Child Care?

If you are employed and receiving Ontario Works, you may be eligible for help with your child care costs.

Ontario Works Child Care provides child care funds for participants to cover child care costs incurred while participating in an approved activity. It is a temporary child care option until you can access a subsidized child care space in a licensed child care centre or home child care program.

For more information about Ontario Works Child Care, please contact your Ontario Works case worker.

Childcare Fee Subsidy Calculator