A licence is required under the Child Care Licensing Act to operate a child care program that provides care for 7 or more children except for:
- an education program provided under the Education Act
- a day camp, vacation camp or other recreational program that operates for less than 12 consecutive weeks
- supervision of children at a recreational facility, retail centre or other commercial establishment where the parents of the children remain on the premises and are available
- private (unlicensed/unapproved) child care providers for 6 children or less, not including the caregiver's own children
- approved family day homes, which are monitored by a family day home agency
The Child Care Licensing Regulation sets out the minimum standards that must be met in a licensed child care program to ensure that safety, well-being and developmental needs of children are met.
Children's Services licenses, monitors and issues enforcement actions. If you have any questions about applying for a child care licence, contact your local Children’s Services office.
How to become a licensed child care program
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To become a licensed child care provider in Alberta, contact a child care licensing officer at your local Children’s Services office. A licensing officer will take you through the steps you need to take to prepare and apply for a licence and will provide you with a Child Care Licence Application Package (PDF, 110 KB).
Child Care Licensing Handbook
The Child Care Licensing Handbook provides information about:
- how you can apply for or renew a child care licence
- what is involved in inspecting and monitoring a licensed child care program
- terms used in the Child Care Licensing Act and Regulation
This handbook does not supersede the act or regulation. Find the necessary forms, checklists and templates related to child care licensing below.
- New Incident Report Form for Programs (PDF, 1.9 MB)
Licence and contract holders are required to report serious illness, injury to a child, or any other incident that occurs while the child is attending a program that may seriously affect the health or safety of the child. The Incident Report form (PDF, 1.9 MB) must be completed and submitted to your local Children's Services’ licensing office within two days of the incident.
- COVID-19 Licence Holder Request for a Temporary Variation to a Licence
- Incident Reporting and Annual Summary Analysis Report (PDF, 147 KB)
- Application/Renewal for a Child Care Licence (PDF, 110 KB)
- Licence Holder Request for Variation of a Licence (PDF, 1.1 MB)
- Staff Qualifications Exemption Request (PDF, 2.2 MB)
- Day Care Inspection Checklist (PDF, 887 KB)
- Out-of-School Child Care Inspection Checklist (PDF, 201 KB)
- Pre-School Program Inspection Checklist (PDF, 898 KB)
- Group Family Child Care Inspection Checklist (PDF, 898 KB)
- Program Plan Template – Day Care (PDF, 1.1 MB)
- Program Plan Template – Out-of-School Care (PDF, 93 KB)
- Program Plan Template – Pre-school (PDF, 78 KB)
- Program Plan Template – Group Family Care (PDF, 1.1 MB)
- Appeal Form (PDF, 1.1 MB)
Can be used if you have applied for a new licence or licence renewal and were refused, or you are a licence holder and you want to appeal an enforcement decision by a licensing staff member. Find out how to appeal a decision about child care licensing.
- Transportation, Crib, Outdoor Playspace and Mixed Age Group Exemption Request (PDF, 945 KB)
Licence Holder Information Session
As part of the licensing process, you will have to complete a free online Licence Holder Information Session. Evidence of completion is required to get a child care licence in Alberta.
New licence holders can complete the online version or the self-study guide, which is available through their local Children’s Services office.
To take the course, log in to the Online Learning Environment (OLE).
If you are having troubles logging in, see the How to get started in OLE (PDF, 684 KB) guide.
Starting a family day home
There is a different process for starting a family day home. See Become an approved family day home for more information.
Connect with your local Children’s Services office for any questions you have about applying for and receiving a child care licence.