Hailey Schellenberger
ECE Student, Intensive Program, Mohawk College

Finding quality childcare is one of the greatest concerns families have in today’s society. CBC’s Marketplace aired an investigative TV show called “Who’s Watching the Kids?” on February 22, 2013 that explored the issue of childcare in Canada. As a current student studying early childhood education (ECE), I was shocked at some of the findings in this report and the need in Canada for more licensed day care spaces.  This investigation can also help to make parents more aware of questions to ask their child-care centre or providers.   Follow the link below for  the full report.

li-daycareMarketplace, (February 22, 2013). Who’s Watching the Kids. Retrieved: March 19, 2013.


Tip Sheet

(from http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/episodes/2013/02/tip-sheet-8.html )

  • Are you licensed?  If yes, make sure to see the license, and that it is up-to-date.
  • Do you have CPR/ First Aid Training? Ask to see the certificates, and make sure that they are up-to-date.
  • Can I have references from both current and past parents?  Make sure to check them.
  • Are you insured? Accidents do happen; be sure that the provider has liability coverage in case of accidents.
  • Can you provide criminal background checks for yourself and anyone else who will be in contact with the children? Make sure you see the records for yourself.
  • Who else lives in the home and may have access to the child(ren)? Ask for criminal background checks for all people over 18 who live in the home.
  • How many children are cared for at the location, at any time? Each province has different laws regarding the number of children allowed; check your province’s legislation
  • What is your educational training and experience with children? 
  • What are the ages of the children being cared for? Younger children and infants require more supervision.
  • Make sure the sleeping arrangements are safe, clean, and well-maintained, with ready exits in case of fire.
  • Make sure that children are transported in appropriate car seats or booster seats at all times.
  • Ask to see the play areas, and make sure areas and toys are safe, clean, and well-maintained.
  • Make sure the daycare has procedures in case of illness, fire and accidents.
  • Make sure the daycare has and follows a strict protocol of distributing medication.
  • Make sure there are policies to manage food allergies.
  • Make sure that cleaning materials, household chemicals, and plastic bags are stored out-of-reach of the children.
  • Is there a safe, fenced-in yard? Are there baby gates on the stairs, and covers on the electrical outlets? 
  • Do you have a swimming pool? If yes, what precautions do you take to ensure the safety of children in care?
  • Can you tell me how playdates are managed and organized, and how you inform parents and get their permission? Make sure the playdates are legal and safe – combining children from different unlicensed daycares into one private location exceeding the allowable limit is illegal in some provinces, including Ontario. 
  • Is there evidence of cigarette smoke in the home?
  • If you are unavailable, will you tell me in advance when my child is being cared for by another person? Make sure that person also provides you with a police record check and references.