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Information for parents

Emergency child care

The City of Ottawa is authorized by the Province of Ontario to provide emergency child care for children of health care and other frontline workers, free of charge, at three locations in Ottawa.

  • Esther By Child Care Centre (1550 Caldwell Avenue)
  • Centre Éducatif Tournesol (194 McArthur Road)
  • Dr. Ernest Couture Child Care Centre (2185 Riverside Drive)
  • Andrew Fleck - Overbrook Child Care Centre (557 Queen Mary Street)
  • Andrew Fleck – George Street Child Care Centre (185 & 195 George Street)

Home-based emergency child care is provided by Andrew Fleck Children’s Services across the city.

Ottawa Public Health considers that the safest option for families is for children to remain at home, if possible. While there is no way to be certain that the COVID-19 infection can be kept out of a child care setting, the child care centres are following strict Ottawa Public Health guidelines to ensure a healthy and safe environment for all families, children and employees.

Emergency child care services are reserved exclusively for workers identified in the Province of Ontario’s list of workers eligible for emergency child care who have no other alternatives.

Families who meet the criteria for emergency child care are required to complete an online application (external link).

Families will be contacted by Children’s Services if a space becomes available and a signed “Consent to Accept Risk and Release of Liability” form will be required upon acceptance of a placement.

As space is limited, Children’s Services will prioritize child care spaces for frontline health care workers on a first come first served basis.

For questions about emergency child care, contact or call 613-580-2424 ext. 24100 and leave a message

COVID-19 service interruptions: child care centres

Licensed child care centres, including municipal child care centres, and EarlyON Child and Family Centres are closed. For information on program and service interruptions visit COVID-19.

The City of Ottawa’s Financial Services Unit will be issuing account credits to eligible families in receipt of a fee subsidy and full-fee families enrolled in Municipal Child Care Centres as a result of child care services not being available.  Families who have a credit balance on their account will be reimbursed using the same method of payment used to make the original payment.

All reimbursements are being prioritized and will be completed as quickly as possible.  In addition, preauthorized bank and credit card payments for April 1, 2020 have been temporarily suspended to help support families and will be reassessed as this situation continues to evolve.

Types of child care

Parents can choose from licensed home-based child care, licensed centre-based child care or Informal (unlicensed) child care. Also find out about school age care.

Licensed child care

Licensed child care programs are offered in homes and in centres. These programs are licensed by the Ministry of Education and must meet specific provincial standards that provide for the health, safety and developmental needs of children.

Learn more about licensed home-based child care.
Learn more about licensed centre-based child care.

Search for licensed child care by:

  • Location;
  • Type of program (home-based or centre-based);
  • Age-group; and
  • Postal Code.

This provincial website also gives the results of inspections conducted by the Ministry of Education for any licensed child care home or centre.

Informal (unlicensed) care

Informal child care arrangements are made between the parents and a caregiver, such as a neighbour, relative or friend. Parents should be aware that informal caregivers are not regulated. This means they are neither licensed nor inspected. As a result, they are not required to meet provincial standards. It is up to parents to research, choose and monitor their child care arrangements. Child care subsidies are not available for informal care.

The Ministry of Education provides a Registry of Unlicensed Child Care Violations for reported violations. For example, a violation could be too many children in care or not following the approved ages in care.

Learn more about informal care by visiting the Child Care Providers Resource Network of Ottawa.

School age care

Learn about care for children attending elementary school such as before and after school hours, at lunch, during school breaks and on days when schools are closed. Many full-day kindergarten programs offer before- and after-school programs. 

To get information on attendance boundaries, visit the school board websites:

Find the right child care

For detailed information about child care and help with your daycare costs, please consult the Parent Guide to Licensed Child Care in Ottawa [ PDF – 835 KB ]

City of Ottawa Child Care Registry and Waitlist – An online system that allows parents to apply for licensed centre-based or home-based child care; low income parents can also apply to the Waitlist for a child care subsidy fee

The average rates for child care in the City of Ottawa by ward for Centre Based Child Care Services and Home Child Care Services (updated May 11, 2016)

Ministry of Education – Learn about child care choices in Ontario, how to find a child care provider, how to prepare your child for child care and much more

Ontario Early Years Centres – Find a centre in Ottawa where children up to the age of six and their parents and caregivers can take part in programs and activities together

School Boards – Ottawa-Carleton District School BoardOttawa Catholic School BoardConseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’OntarioConseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est

Families attending the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board for English as a Second Language, Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada or Literacy and Basic Skills classes can get free-on-site child care 

Licensed Home Child Care Network of Ottawa – For people who may be interested in providing licensed home care, or for parents interested in finding licensed home care

The New Child Care and Early Years Act “What Providers and Parents Need to Know” - Answers key questions about how the changes under the new Act will affect licensed and unlicensed child care providers in Ontario

City-operated child care

Among the hundreds of licensed child care homes and centres in Ottawa, the City of Ottawa operates ten child care programs which are licensed by the Ministry of Education under the Child Care and Early Years Act:

Licensing reports for all centre-based licensed child care programs are available on the provincial licensed child care finder(link is external).

Municipal child care centres

  • 10 City-operated centres in a group setting for children 18 months to 5 years old
  • Open Monday to Friday
  • Services are available in English or French
  • Qualified staff provide educational programs with indoor and outdoor activities
  • Provide nutritious meals/snacks based on Healthy Eating and Active Living Guidelines from Ottawa Public Health
  • Help may be available to pay for child care costs

List of Municipal child care centres

To get more detailed information about a centre, contact a centre directly. To make an application to one of the centres, go to the online City of Ottawa Child Care Registry and Waitlist.(link is external)

List of Municipal child care centres
Name of Centre Ages and language Hours Contact 
Borden Farm Child Care Centre 18 months to 5 years (English) 7:30 am to 5:45 pm
170 Chesterton Drive
Charmian Craven Child Care Centre 18 months to 5 years (English) 7:30 am to 5:45 pm
2071 Jasmine Crescent
Dr. E. Couture Child Care Centre 18 months to 5 years (English) 7:30 am to 5:45 pm
2185 Riverside Drive
Elsie Stapleford Child Care Centre 2 ½ to 5 years (English) 7:30 am to 5:45 pm

1000 Teron Road

Esther By Child Care Centre 18 months to 5 years (English) 7:30 am to 5:30 pm
1550 Caldwell Avenue
Foster Farm Child Care Centre 2 ½ to 5 years (English) 7:30 am to 5:30 pm
1056 Ramsey Crescent
Huron Early Learning Centre 18 months to 5 years (English) 7:30 am to 5:45 pm
24 Capilano Drive
Centre éducatif Pinocchio 18 months to 5 years (French) 7:30 am to 5:45 pm
111 Sussex Drive
Centre éducatif Tournesol 18 months to 5 years (French) 7:30 am to 5:45 pm
194 McArthur Road
St. Luke's Child Care Centre 18 months to 5 years (English) 7:30 am to 5:45 pm
110 Laurier Avenue West

Resources for parents

Quality indicators for early learning

Ministry of Education - Ontario's Pedagogy for Early Years - How does learning happen?

College of Early Childhood Educators

Child Care and Early Years Act 2014

Healthy living and parenting

Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa - committed to protecting the children and youth in our community from abuse and neglect

Ottawa Public Health - Provides public health programs and services to Ottawa individuals and communities while advocating for public policies that make our city and its residents healthier. Includes a wealth of programs and services like access to health and dental care; mental and emotional health; nutrition; sexual health; pregnancy and babies; and much more 

Community Health and Resource Centres

Parachute - A national, charitable organization dedicated to preventing injuries and saving lives 

Special needs

Ministry of Children and Youth Services - Provides parents with information about infant hearing programs, speech and language programs, infant development and more

Children’s Inclusive Support Services - Provides resources and funding so that children with special needs enrolled in licensed programs may get the extra help they need

Other resources

Canadian Child Care Federation - A valuable resource for educators, service providers, parents, policy providers, media, business, government and community leaders; may also fit on operators page

Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care - Advocate for universal, affordable, high quality, not-for-profit child care in Ontario

Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre - Serves Inuit children, youth and their children in partnership with parents and the community

Ottawa Neighbourhood Study - Provides detailed demographic information on Ottawa neighbourhoods and the people who live there

Canada Child Benefit – A tax-free monthly payment made to eligible families to help them with the cost of raising children under 18 years of age