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5.7. Child Care Informal


Ontario Works Effective Date: March 1, 2022
Topic: Income and Exemptions Replaces: March 1, 2016
Subject: Child Care Informal Policy No. H.5.7.



Authority OW Act: Sec. 7(1), 7(2), 7(3), 16(1) & OW Dir: 5.4

The intent of the Directive on child care is to maximize employment and training opportunities by allowing child care expenses as a deduction from the net earnings and net training income of participants. 

Temporary Care Assistance applicants are not eligible for the deduction of child care expenses unless the applicant is eligible for financial assistance in his/her own right.

If child care is required before a participant begins a job/training program, “up-front” child care money may be issued to the participant, if no other alternative exists.

There are two types of child care that are considered under this policy. Licensed child care is care which is provided by a Child Care Centre, or Home Child Care, and which is licensed by the Ministry of Education. Unlicensed child care is informal babysitting which is provided in the child's own home or the home of the babysitter.


Funding under the Child Care and Early Years Act for informal child care may only be accessed by Ontario Works participants when a licensed child care arrangement is not available based on the following provisions:

1. Limited licensed child care options 
2. Licensed child care options do not meet the needs of Ontario Works clients (i.e. the need for weekend, over night or intermittent care);    or 
3. Short-term child care is needed.



  Licensed (L) Unlicensed (U)
Infant/Toddler (0-5 Years) Actual Costs $600/mth
School Age (6-12Years) Actual Costs $600/mth

The allowable child care deduction for informal child care is the actual amount paid by the recipient for each dependant child under the age of 18 up to a maximum amount of $600 per month per child.

Unlicensed or informal child care cannot be deducted from a participant’s budget if it is provided by any of the following:

• any beneficiary of the participant’s assistance, e.g., dependent child or dependent adult of the participant;

• any person who has a legal obligation to support the child(ren), e.g., an ex-spouse.

The participant must submit verification of cost along with their pay stubs and income statements on a monthly basis.

They must also verify that none of the costs of child care are otherwise reimbursed by another agency or organization. In such cases the child care is not an allowed deduction. Likewise, if a portion of the child care is subject to reimbursement, only the portion not subject to reimbursement is an allowed deduction. 

In a two parent family where only one spouse is working or in a training program, child care costs will be allowed only where there is sufficient evidence that the remaining spouse is unable to provide the child care due to disability or employment interviews.

As a rule, the child care deduction will be the very last deduction made to a participant’s net income before arriving at the chargeable income. Where the participant only qualifies for partial childcare costs, it is recommended that the individual be referred to the Child Care Subsidy for top-up.

In cases where informal child care arrangements are approved, case managers will be required to document the rationale. Case managers will provide resources on the differences between licensed and informal child care.


In situations where a participant or spouse begins or changes employment or employment assistance activities and an advance child care payment is reasonably necessary to permit the employment or employment assistance activity to begin or change, Case Managers may issue an advance child care payment.

Case Managers must obtain verification from the participant of employment or employment assistance activity as well as the amount of the child care expense, prior to the issuance of the advance payment.

In the first month of employment or activity, the advance payment for child care costs may be paid and child care expenses may also be allowed as a deduction in the same month for a period of one month. If the entire amount is not used, the remainder can be used in the same twelve-month period, if the participant requires advanced or upfront care due to a second change in employment, etc.    


Any other person who does not qualify for Ontario Works, but requires child care subsidy, should be referred to the Manitoulin-Sudbury District Services Board to apply for childcare subsidy. 


Issued under Employment Related Expenses (ERE) 

On occasion, short term Child Care is required due to an emergency situation (e.g. unscheduled activity such as a job interview, workshop, etc).
Short term child care is defined as: From a few hours to a maximum of three days.

In a two parent family where only one of the parents is a participant, short term child care funds will not be available.

In a two parent family where both parents participate in one or more of the OW components, short term child care funds will be available if the parents are unable to care for the child(ren) due to involvement in the OW program.

Details regarding why the child care is needed, the length of time the child care is required, the amount of money required and who is providing the care must be obtained by the Case Manager. The Case Manager will be required to document rationale for short term child care.


The parent(s) will be responsible for securing an appropriate child care provider. Once short term funds have been approved, they will be made out in the name of the parent to pay the provider. 

Short term funds will not be issued if the child care provider is:

• the parent of the child(ren);
• a person who has a legal obligation to support the child(ren), e.g., ex-spouse;
• any other dependent child living with the parent(s).
• any other family member or person who resides with the client.

The short term child care provider must be at least 18 years of age.
The Parent will be required to submit the OW child care receipt form which includes all the information that the Case Manager needs to pay the cost of the child care. 
OW Financial Assistance is not to be placed on hold if the OW child care receipt form is not submitted on time. However, further requests for short term child care funds will be issued on a reimbursement basis only.

Short term child care funds are not considered as income and are not to be deducted from the individual’s assistance.



    Number of Children   
    1 2 3 or more

Hourly Maximum

(up to 2 hours)

  $5.00 $7.00 $9.00

Half Day Maximum

(2-6 hours)

0-5 years

6-12 years



$21.00 $27.00

Full Day Maximum

(6 hours or more)

0-5 years

6-12 years





The actual amount payable to a parent is the actual amount up to the maximums in the above table. Under no circumstances shall the total monthly amount issued exceed the guidelines of $600 per child per month.        

• the client is to provide written verification of the employment related activity. If this is not possible because of time constraints or other legitimate reasons, the Case Manager shall obtain verbal verification from the employer or appropriate source;

• the Case Manager will issue, in advance, the actual cost of the child care or the maximum allowed under the guidelines;

• the amount being issued will be noted in the social assistance computer system.

• the client must include a receipt for the child care services provided, with his/her next Income Statement. The Case Manager will note in the social assistance computer system if the receipt has been received

• if the OW child care receipt form is not received, any future emergency child care funds will be issued on a reimbursement basis only.