Qualifying for Subsidized Child Care
Section 66.2 (1) of O. Reg. 262 of the DNA defines categories of person who are eligible for fee subsidy:
The following persons are eligible, as parents, for assistance with the cost of child care:
Persons eligible for income support under the Ontario Disability Support Program Act, 1997;
Persons eligible for an allowance under the Family Benefits Act;
Persons eligible for income assistance under the Ontario Works Act, 1997 who are employed or participating in employment assistance activities under that Act or both; and
Persons who are eligible for assistance on the basis of their adjusted income.
Subsection 4 above refers to the prescribed income test to determine subsidy. Refer to Part V for details of the Income Test.
Social Need Requirements
Families may be eligible for subsidy based on social needs if their health, safety, or well-being is at risk. Examples include:
A teen parent completing high school
A family with a child with developmental/medical needs.
A parent with a medical need that prevents him or her from working and caring for the children.
A family experiencing exceptional circumstances (referral must be supported with documentation from a women’s shelter, housing crisis group, emergency care centre, etc.)
Applying for Child Care Fee Subsidy
A parent residing in the City of Kawartha Lakes or Haliburton County, who is requesting child care fee subsidy, applies to the Lindsay office at 1-877-324-9870 ext. 3251. A brief review will be completed by the Child Care Needs Assessor to determine if the client may be eligible. If the initial review indicates that the family may be eligible, they will be required to come to the office to complete the full application with a Child Care Needs Assessor.
If you wish to apply online: https://www.missioninc.com/olaf/ckl/default.aspx
Applicants continue to pay the full daily fee for child care until the Child Care Service Provider is notified of approval for fee assistance. Agreements are only made with licensed child care centres and licensed private home child care.
If there is no immediate subsidy funding available, applicants will be placed on a waiting list until subsidy funding becomes available. Eligibility for subsidy will be determined once funding is available.
Notice of Eligibility
A Notice of Eligibility letter will be issued to the applicant by the Needs Assessor once the eligibility decision is made. If ineligible for subsidy, the letter will provide the reason and information on how to request an Internal Review (See Part VI). If eligible, the written confirmation of the subsidy must be issued before the child is enrolled or re-enrolled in a child care program as a subsidy-supported child. Parents will be expected to pay the full daily fee if approval has not been given, regardless of their eligibility. Parents who request extra days of care not approved in the eligibility letter must do so in advance with the Needs Assessor (unless extenuating circumstances exist which made advance approval not possible).
The Subsidy Approval letter will include the approval start and end date, the specific days of care approved and information about appealing a decision. A copy of the letter will be sent to the applicant and the approved child care program. Note: no days of care will be covered beyond the start and end date stated in the approval letter.
Families working sporadic hours may be required to submit a monthly calendar or other verification indicating the actual days worked. Calendars are due by the 5th of every month. If calendars are not submitted by the due date, the parent may be responsible for the full payment of any care used during that period.
Where budgetary restrictions or funding levels preclude granting subsidy for all eligible families, a priority system will be used in granting subsidies. The priorities for subsidy, in order, are:
- Teen parents completing high school
- Parents exiting social assistance and requiring Fee Subsidy
- Single parents attending school or work
- A family with a child with developmental/medical needs
- Two parent families completing school or work
- A parent with medical need that prevents him or her from working and caring for the children
- A family experiencing exceptional circumstances (see Social Need Requirements)
Child Care Registration Fee
The City does not pay any child care registration fees unless the applicant is in receipt of Ontario Works. The parent will be responsible for any child care registration fees that the child care centre may charge.
Subsidy Per Diem Rates
Child care centres negotiate with the City for the approved subsidy rate. The City will only pay the approved rate. If a centre establishes a rate higher than the City’s approved rate, the parent will be solely responsible for the difference. (Example: a centre increases their rate to $26/day, but the City’s approved rate is $25 -- the parent is responsible for the additional $1/day). Per diem rate changes at a child’s birthday (or 18 month and 2.5 or 6 year milestones) will be changed the 1st day of the following month.
If a program has approval for full days and a half-day is required but the program does not have a half-day rate, the City will take the full-day fee and divide it by two (2) to arrive at the half-day fee.
Absenteeism and withdrawal situations
A child is considered absent any day that he or she is away from a child care program for any reason, including vacation, sickness, visit to relatives and unexplained absent days.
There are situations of absenteeism where parents may be offered special, but temporary arrangements. Absentee situations could include:
Late starts and withdrawals
Break in service
Parental leave due to a birth
Withdrawal without notice
Request to transfer to another care location
Elementary school board on strike plan
Each child is allowed a maximum of 30 “absent days” per calendar year that will be subsidized. The absentee allowance allows families to plan their use of absent days. It is the parent’s responsibility to manage their child’s attendance within the given allowance. The Absentee allowance will be 2.5 days per month, and will be pro-rated based on the month the child is enrolled. Absentee days are cumulative within the calendar year and may be carried over from one month to the next. Absentee days not used at the end of the calendar year may not be carried over to the next year. If a child is absent for 10 consecutive days the situation will have to be reviewed (as per Purchase of Service Agreement). The absentee allowance is transferred with the child from program to program.
If a child has used all of his or her absentee allowance, it is the Child Care Service Provider’s responsibility to collect the full fee. Parents are informed of this condition when they sign the Child Care Parental Agreement Form.
Absentee days are recorded and monitored by the Child Care Needs Assessor through Child Care Service Provider accounts. Child Care Service Providers must report absences over 3 days to the appropriate Needs Assessor.
The Child Care Needs Assessor will send Parents:
Notification in writing when their child’s absentee days are running out.
Re-notification when they have exhausted their absentee allowance. (A copy of the notice will also be sent to the Child Care Service Provider).
Balance of the child’s absentee allowance (when completing the 6 month eligibility review).
Late starts and withdrawals
If a child has been approved for child care fee assistance and a start date has been confirmed the City will pay its portion of the fee beginning on the approved date of enrollment.
If the child does not enroll on the start date, his or her absentee allowance will be decreased accordingly.
If a child does not enroll at all, the Child Care Service Provider will be reimbursed for 10 days as per the withdrawal without notice policy.
Once enrolled, if a child is absent for 10 consecutive days without notice and withdraws from the program, the 10 days absence will be paid and will fall under the withdrawal without notice policy.
If a child will be absent for a substantial period, his or her parents should contact the Children’s Services Division. If approved for a leave of absence, the parents will be advised that while their child care fee assistance will be guaranteed upon return, they must discuss space availability with the Child Care Service Provider.
Break in Service
A break in service permits families to keep their eligibility status for child care fee assistance while not actively receiving fee assistance. A break in service is only valid for a maximum of six months. If a family does not return from their break in service, they must re-contact the City when they wish to apply for fee assistance once more. The family will return to the bottom of the wait list as a new referral.
If a parent becomes unemployed, cannot find a job, or decides to leave his or her school/training program, he or she will be offered a break in service. A leave supports eligibility for a six-month period, but does not guarantee that funding or space will be available when the family returns. The parent will have to negotiate space with the Child Care Service Provider.
Parental Leave due to a Birth
Parental leave is a special type of break in service granted to families who have had a birth in the family. It permits the other enrolled, actively subsidized siblings to continue receiving fee assistance for up to 10 days after the birth. This allows the family to remain actively subsidized while the mother is still in the hospital or recovering from the delivery.
After the 10 days are over, the subsidy will be stopped since a parent will be available to look after the children and the new baby. If this happens:
The family will no longer be subsidized and child care fee assistance will be discontinued.
The family file will be placed on parental leave status
When the parent returns to work or school, the children will be reinstated in their child care programs, if space and funding are available.
If the parents decide to return to work, school, or a training program less than 10 days after the baby is born:
Existing child care arrangements will continue
Verification from the employer or educational program will be required within 10 days to confirm the parents status
The Child Care Service Provider must be given 10 days’ notice before the expected birth, and parents must contact their Needs Assessor the day the expected baby is born. The Needs Assessor will confirm ongoing approval or a withdrawal date with the Child Care Service Provider.
Withdrawal without Notice
Withdrawal without notice occurs when sufficient written notice is not provided before the last day of attendance. Parents are informed in the Child Care Agreement that they are required to provide their Child Care Service Provider and Needs Assessor with 10 working days’ notice before an extended absence.
If the children are withdrawn without notice, the City will reimburse the Child Care Service Provider with the full portion of the fee for up to a maximum of 10 days following the last day the child was present. If another child is enrolled within that 10-day period, the Child Care Service Provider will not be reimbursed for any remaining days.
Child Care Service Providers are responsible for notifying their Needs Assessor when children are absent for five consecutive days without notification from the parents.
Request to Transfer to another Care Location
Families who wish to transfer their children to another care location must:
Pay all outstanding balances to the Child Care Service Provider
Provide the Child Care Service Provider with 10 days written notice.
Families who have not paid all outstanding balance owing to the Child Care Service Provider will be required to pay in full before the request is granted provided that the information is provided to the Child Care Needs Assessor. Child Care Service Providers are responsible for enforcing their payment policies with parents.
Elementary School Board Strike Plan
If there is a labour disruption that precludes children attending school, parents have several options for the care of school-aged children. They may:
Leave their child in their child care program for the full day. Parents choosing this option are responsible for paying the difference between their approved subsidy (before and after school rate, kindergarten rate) and the Child Care Service Provider’s full day rate.
Withdraw their child from the licensed child care program. The City cannot subsidize children who attend unlicensed child care programs. If parents withdraw their children, their file will be placed on “break in service” status. Their subsidy may be reinstated at the end of the strike, but they must confirm space availability with the Child Care Service Provider.
Make alternate arrangements. If alternate arrangements are made and approved for full day care, these days are not deducted as part of child’s allowed absentee days.
Parents should notify the Needs Assessor of their choice immediately. The City will honor the 10-day withdrawal without notice agreement.
Overpayments that result from changes in eligibility are managed on an individual case basis consistent with the Department’s overpayment procedures.
Attending a Junior or Senior Kindergarten Program is not mandatory. Parents requesting subsidy for their Kindergarten aged child to remain in licensed care may be approved depending on availability of space and sufficient funding. Care will not be approved if the City is in a waitlist situation unless the child has been determined to be “Handicapped” as defined by the DNA, and it is recommended that the child would benefit remaining in full-time care. A doctor’s note is required to support the request.
The DNA directs the City to reimburse Child Care Service Providers with a Purchase of Service Agreement for child care services provided to families approved for subsidy.
The Purchase of Service Agreements between providers and the City define the child care rates approved by the City. Provincial and local guidelines determine each family’s eligibility for subsidy. Once the family’s eligibility is determined and approved, they must pay their portion of the daily fee, if any, directly to the provider. The City then reimburses the provider for the remaining portion of the daily fee on a monthly basis.
Income Testing Policy
The City will use the Ontario Child Care Management and Funding Guideline 2013 - Income Test (Day Nurseries Act) when determining eligibility for fee subsidy. All subsidy applicants will be income tested consistent with the Ministry-defined process. The following summarizes the information required to determine eligibility for child care fee subsidy:
- Applicants/recipients must file their Income Tax returns by April 30th of each year
- The Canada Revenue Agency Notice of Assessment (NOA) for the most recent Income Tax year must be submitted, with clarification as outlined in the examples below:
- From January to April 2013, submit the NOA from 2011
- From May to June, may submit 2011 if the 2012 NOA hasn’t been received, but 2012 taxes must have been submitted by May 1st
- From July to December, submit the 2012 NOA
- Child Tax Benefit Summary for most recent Income Tax year
- Birth Certificate for child(ren)
- Any applicable Court Orders or Separation Agreements if cases of separation or divorce
Requirements if working or in school:
- Letter of Employment or recent pay stub or Employment Insurance Stub
- School Schedule
Requirements for Accessing Special Needs or Special Circumstances Coverage:
Referral Letter from a member of one of the following:
- College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.
- College of Psychologists of Ontario.
- College of Optometrists of Ontario.
- College of Nurses of Ontario who is a registered nurse and who holds an extended certificate of registration in accordance with the regulations made under the Nursing Act, 1991.
Additional information may be required at the discretion of City staff.