Intro to dayhomes
Learn about what a dayhome is and how they operate in Alberta.
Topic Last Updated: September 2022
What is a dayhome?
In Alberta, a dayhome is an in-home daycare that is run by one person out of their home. In other places around the world, they may be called in-home daycares or in-home child care programs.
There are two different types of dayhomes in Alberta – licensed and unlicensed.
Different DAYHOME Types
What are the REGULATIONS FOR IN HOME CHILD CARE?
Licensed dayhomes are dayhomes that are contracted through a registered family dayhome agency. The agency holds the child care license and ensures that all their contracted dayhomes follow the Alberta legislation and regulation pertaining to licensed dayhomes.
Licensed dayhomes can care for 6 children plus their own and have to adhere to an age ratio of no more than two children under the age of two and no more than three children under the age of three. A provider’s own children are counted in these ratios.
Unlicensed dayhomes are unregulated by the provincial government, however, they must still adhere to the following minimum regulations as it pertains to their childcare business:
- A dayhome provider can care for no more than 6 non-custodial children at any one time. This means they can have 6 children plus their own.
- Dayhomes are permitted to have more than one provider on site, but this does not increase the number of children a dayhome is permitted to care for. The law remains 6 non-custodial children regardless of how many providers are present.
There are no regulations that speak to the specific ages of the children in an unlicensed dayhome. Private providers must determine their own skill level and ability when deciding what ages and stages they are comfortable caring for. As a parent, it is important to know how many children your provider is caring for, as well as their ages. In an emergency, can your provider safely evacuate every child in their care? And do they have the skill and experience needed to safely care for their group?
If you suspect a dayhome in Alberta is not adhering to the laws set out for them, please contact your local Licensing Authority to submit a complaint or call Child Care Connect. The Alberta Government can issue a stop order for any unlicensed dayhome providers who are caring for more than 6 children or who have or are putting children in imminent danger.
To gain a deeper understanding of the difference between licensed and unlicensed dayhomes and to learn more about unlicensed care in Alberta, you can check out our comprehensive PARENT GUIDE.
Dayhome operators come from a variety of different backgrounds and experience levels. While many dayhome providers are also parents who have experience caring for their own children – caring for children other than your own can be quite a different experience. When selecting a dayhome provider, it’s essential to understand their experience, education, and skill to determine if they are qualified to ensure safety and quality in the care they provide.
Dayhome professionals often have experience caring for children prior to opening their own dayhome program. They may have experience in a licensed childcare setting (like a daycare), in an unlicensed setting (like through their church or in their community) or in a combination of both. Some providers may not have direct experience caring for children, but they may have other relevant experience they can share with you to demonstrate their ability and skill level. It is essential to ask for your provider’s experience and background, whether in child care or other areas, before selecting a dayhome program. Don’t be afraid to ask for references.
Licensed dayhome providers are required to have or obtain a minimum of Level 1 Child Care Certification within 6 months of opening a dayhome program. A Level 1 Child Care Certification means your provider has a foundational understanding of early childhood development.
Unlicensed dayhome providers are not required to hold any minimum level of education; however, they may choose to.
Level 1 Child Care Certification is free to obtain for all Albertans through Children’s Services.
Integrated vs dedicated spaces
As you start your dayhome search, you may come across various dayhome setups.
A dedicated space is a space that is entirely separate from a provider’s personal living space and is often only used for dayhome purposes. Integrated dayhome spaces are typically located in basements or garage conversions, and there is sometimes a dedicated exterior entrance. Some providers prefer this arrangement because they can separate their homes from their businesses.
An integrated space uses the same home areas as the provider’s family, i.e., the kitchen, living room, bathroom, bedrooms, playroom, etc. This dayhome setup is often considered more of a home away from home environment where the dayhome is fully integrated into the provider’s home and family life.
Both types of dayhome spaces have their advantages and disadvantages, so it all comes dow
Business License / Permit
Some municipalities require dayhomes to have a business license. This license is NOT the same as being licensed by the Government of Alberta. This license is individually dependent on the municipality where you live and not all municipalities require one. Before researching dayhome programs, you may want to contact your municipality and ask if there are any requirements for in-home childcare programs.
In our experience, there can be confusion at the municipal level regarding dayhome providers and the requirements for in-home child care. If your municipality has stated that a license is required and your dayhome provider does not have one, the municipality may have given them incorrect information.
Having insurance is not mandatory in the province of Alberta so it is lawful for a dayhome to operate without it. However, insurance protects both you and the dayhome and is something that every dayhome operator should carry. It will be important to ask your provider if they have insurance, and if not, why?
You’ll also want to ensure that your provider is adequately insured. The sector standard is 2 million in liability per occurrence for home insurance and vehicle insurance if transportation is offered.
Child care is tax-exempt in Canada. You should never pay PST, HST or GST on any childcare fees. If a dayhome provider is charging sales tax, refer them to this Government of Canada webpage.
Dayhome providers in Canada are required to declare any income earned through their dayhome business and should be issuing proper receipts to dayhome families for childcare fees paid.
For parents, childcare fees are tax deductible – both in licensed and unlicensed care. This means you can use your childcare receipts at tax time to reduce your income so you pay fewer income taxes. Your provider may choose to give you a monthly receipt or provide one receipt once per year. Your provider is legally required to provide a receipt to you by the end of February – even if your child no longer attends their program.
A separate receipt should be provided for each child in your family and they should include:
Social insurance numbers
You may be asked for your provider’s social insurance number when submitting your receipts at tax time; however, providers may be hesitant to give out this sensitive information. Instead, they may ask to pass their SIN along to a licensed accountant or send it to you in a text message with the expectation that it is deleted after use. They may also opt to register for a BIN through Service Canada, which can be used in place of the SIN when you file your taxes.
SUBSIDY & AFFORDABILITY GRANTS
Licensed dayhomes (those with an agency) qualify for a government subsidy (all ages) and affordability grants (children up to kinder age). The subsidy is income dependent while affordability grants are not. Learn more
Unlicensed dayhomes do not qualify for government subsidies or affordability grants.
Types of programs
One of the advantages of in-home childcare is the flexibility it provides for a variety of situations. The type of care each dayhome offers will be up to the provider and the program they choose to run. They may stick to one program type or offer a variety of different options.
A dayhome may offer: