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Day Nurseries:
Highlights of the legislation

The following information will provide a summary of the legislative requirements as described in the Regulation under the provincial Day Nurseries Act. A complete list of provincial requirements is identified in the Act and Regulation which are amended from time to time. They have been printed in one booklet.

For information about how to obtain a copy:

In the City of Hamilton:
Elsewhere:

Contents


License to operate

All day nurseries are required to obtain a licence from the Ministry of Education under the Day Nurseries Act, with some exemptions. Check with the regional office for more information regarding these exemptions.

A "day nursery" means:

a premises that receives more than five children, who are not of common parentage, primarily for the purpose of providing temporary care or guidance (or both) for a continuous period not exceeding 24 hours, and the children are (i) under 10 years of age or (ii) under 18 years of age if the day nursery will be for children with a developmental handicap.

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Premises

Zoning restrictions should be checked with the municipality. The premises must be inspected and approved by the municipal fire, health and zoning departments and, in some cases, also by the building department. There must be evidence that the day nursery complies with the requirements of the local authorities before a license is issued.

Before a new building is erected or an existing building is renovated, the plans must be submitted to the Regional Office of the Ministry of Education for approval.

Every day nursery must have 2.8 square metres (30 square feet) of unobstructed indoor play space for each child. A day nursery for handicapped children must provide 5 square metres (54 square feet) of unobstructed indoor play space for each child. This space requirement is one factor in establishing the licensed capacity of a centre. Other requirements include the following:

  • for children under 18 months of age -- a separate play activity room for each 10 children or less, and a sleeping area that is separated from any play activity space for each 10 children (or less).
  • for children from 18 to 30 months of age -- a separate play activity room for each 15 children (or less)
  • for children from 31 months to five years of age -- a separate play activity room for each 24 children (or less)
  • for children from six to nine years of age -- a separate play area for each 30 children (or less)
  • window area must equal at least 10% of floor area

Every day nursery must have designated space for:

  • washing, dressing, toileting, and isolation of sick children
  • storage for food, toys, indoor play materials and equipment, required records
  • storage for medical supplies, cleaning material and equipment, other hazardous substances
  • heating and electrical equipment

In addition, each full-day nursery must have designated space for:

  • eating and resting
  • food preparation (if meals are prepared on the premises
  • storage of beds, linens, outdoor play equipment
  • a staff rest area
  • an office area

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Equipment and furnishings

Equipment and furnishings must be appropriate and in adequate quantities for licensed capacity, which is the maximum number of children allowed to be in attendance at any one time, and the type of program(s) offered in the day nursery.

Lists of recommended equipment are available from the Regional Office.

Washrooms must include:

  • for every 10 children under 18 months of age -- one sink and one flush toilet (or hospital service sink) and adjacent counter suitable for dressing and changing diapers
  • for every 10 children 18 to 30 months of age -- one sink and one flush toilet (or hospital service sink) and adjacent counter suitable for dressing and changing diapers
  • for every 10 children 31 months to five years of age -- one sink and one flush toilet
  • for children six to nine years of age -- seperate washrooms for boys and girls

In addition, a crib is needed for each child under 18 months, while a cot is necessary for each child 18 months to five years of age enrolled in a full-day program.

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Playground

For full-day nurseries, outdoor space of 5.6 square metres (60 square feet) per child is required. Every outdoor play space must be fenced on all sides to a minimum height of 1.2 metres (4 feet), and equipped with one or more gates that are securely closed at all times. Although it is not mandatory, it is recommended that 1/2 day programs offer outdoor play space.

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Staff

Every day nursery must have a supervisor who:

  1. holds a diploma in early childhood education from an Ontario College of Applied Arts and Technology,

  2.   or
  3. has an equivalent academic qualification;

  4.   and
  5. has at least two years of experience working in a day nursery with children who are at the same ages and developmental levels as the children in the day nursery where the supervisor is to be employed;

  6.   and
  7. is approved by a Ministry Director.

Every day nursery must employ a trained staff member for each group of children as outlined in Column 3 of the tables on page 4. All trained staff must have a diploma in Early Childhood Education from an Ontario College of Applied Arts and Technology (community college); or an equivalent academic qualification; or must be otherwise approved by a Director.

Where there are four or more children under 18 months old, or six or more children over 18 months, at least two adults must be in attendance. The required staff/child ratio differs depending on the ages of the children enrolled. These are described in detail in the section on staff/child ratio (last section). Additional staff are required for handicapped children.

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Health

Before admission, and after admission as needed, each child must be immunized as recommended by the local medical officer of health. Exceptions may be made where a parent of the child objects in writing to the immunization on the grounds that the immunization conflicts with the sincerely held convictions of the parent's religion or conscience or a legally qualified medical practitioner gives medical reasons in writing to the operator as to why the child should not be immunized. The local medical officer of health or designate may inspect a day nursery at any time and set additional requirements.

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Nutrition

Each child under one year of age must be fed in accordance with written instructions from a parent.

Every child one year of age or over enrolled in a day nursery is to be provided with a balanced midday meal. Nutritious snacks, consisting of foods that promote good dental health and do not interfere with a child's appetite at mealtime, are to be served between meals.

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Licensing

The licensing form may be obtained from the Regional Office. The fee for a new license to operate a day nursery is $15.00; it is renewable annually at a cost of $10.00.

It is the responsibility of the Ministry program adviser in the Regional Office to inspect for licensing and to provide guidance for new and established day nurseries.

For further details about any of the requirements needed to establish a day nursery, please contact the nearest Ministry office at the number shown in the Ontario Government Section of the blue pages in your telephone directory.

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Number of Staff Required for a Day Nursery other than a Day Nursery for Handicapped Children

  Age of Children in Group Ratio of Employees to Children Maximum Number of Children in a Group
1. under 18 months of age 3 to 10 10
2. 18 months of age and over up to and including 30 months of age 1 to 5 15
3. more than 30 months of age up to and including 5 years of age 1 to 8 16
4. over 5 years of age and less than 6 years of age 1 to 12 24
5. 6 years of age up to and including 9 years of age 1 to 15 30

Note: The maximum room capacity is the same as the group size in each category except category 3, for which the maximum room capacity is 24.

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