OPSEU/SEFPO Child Care Handbook

OPSEU/SEFPO Child Care Handbook


Downloadable PDF and application forms

NOTE: This OPSEU/SEFPO Child Care Handbook has borrowed material from the Children Welcome! A Guide to Quality On-Site Child Care at CUPE Events (2011). We thank CUPE for the use of this content.

Message from President and First Vice-President/Treasurer:

Welcome to the OPSEU/SEFPO Child Care Handbook, a practical resource to help you navigate temporary on-site child care at OPSEU/SEFPO functions.

OPSEU/SEFPO is committed to providing temporary, on-site child care services to union members with child care responsibilities, when requested, at all Union educationals, conventions, Regional, divisional and central demand setting meetings where the membership requests at least three weeks prior to the event.

This Manual, together with OPSEU/SEFPO child care Policies and Procedures, provides the framework for the delivery of high-quality, inclusive and responsive child care. Child care fosters solidarity and strengthens OPSEU/SEFPO. It is a key way OPSEU/SEFPO is increasing meaningful member engagement and removing barriers to members becoming leaders at every level of the union.

In solidarity,

JP Hornick

Laurie Nancekivell
First Vice-President/Treasurer


This Handbook is your entry-point to accessing OPSEU/SEFPO child care supports. It is divided into three sections:

  1. Policy and Procedure

This section outlines the policy and procedure framework that governs the provision of child care at OPSEU/SEFPO functions.

  1. Guidelines

This section provides direction and guidance to parents and guardians, to child care providers, and to staff in the provision of temporary, on-site child care at OPSEU/SEFPO functions. Included in this section:

  1. Description of temporary on-site child care
  2. Steps to prepare for temporary on-site child care
  3. Roles and responsibilities of parents/guardians, child care providers, and staff
  4. Child care qualifications, staffing ratios, and other key information
  1. Forms

This section provides OPSEU/SEFPO forms used in the provision of child care at OPSEU/SEFPO central events. These are available for use by all OPSEU/SEFPO activists who are providing child care. Included in this section are forms for:

  1. Parents/guardians to register their child
  2. Staff to plan child care
  3. Child care providers to use during child care

Policy and Procedure

OPSEU/SEFPO provides a policy and procedure framework for the provision of child care at designated OPSEU/SEFPO events. The Policy and Procedure Manuals can be found on the OPSEU/SEFPO Member Portal.

The following is an overview of the content found in the Policy and Procedure Manuals.

Policy Manual

Article 1.3. 6: General Policy – Practices – Child Care

Article 2.9.6: Governance Policy – Membership – Accessibility and Inclusion – Child Care

Article 4.2.3,1: Financial Administration – Expense Claims – Child Care Rate and Reimbursement

Article Financial Administration – Services at OPSEU/SEFPO Functions – Child Care Providers, Member Wages, Provider Ratios, and Honoraria

Procedure Manual

1.3.5: General Procedures – Practices – Child Care

Note on Accommodation

If you believe that your child care situation falls outside of the scope of what is outlined in this Handbook, or you believe you may be eligible for an accommodation based on family status, please consider requesting a Human Rights Accommodation by filling out this Human Righs Accommodation Request form.

If you have any questions on filling out the accommodation form equity@opseu.org or contact your Staff Representative.

Note on Compensation for Individually Arranged Child Care Providers

Members are entitled to reimbursement of reasonable costs of family/dependant care that is individually arranged, when provided by someone other than their partners/spouses as a result of absences from home arising from the conduct of union business. (NOTE: partner/spouses may be covered through a Human Rights Accommodation.) To make a claim for reimbursement, please fill out this Family / Attendant Care form.

Guidelines for Child Care

On-site Child Care

On-site child care during OPSEU/SEFPO events makes it easier for members responsible for children from birth to age 17 to participate in their union. A creative, quality temporary program offered by qualified child care professionals is available on-site for the duration of the event, allowing children to play and learn in a fun, stimulating and safe environment. The program is inclusive – it respects the cultural values and diversity, race, language, and special needs of those who participate.

How is it different?

The temporary nature of on-site child care at union events makes it different from traditional child care. The biggest differences lie in the areas of preparation, physical space and staffing. When planning temporary on-site child care, it is key to acknowledge the importance of first impressions, both of parents/guardians and the children in their care.


In a traditional child care setting, communication and paperwork are done over the course of the child’s transition into a program. In the case of on-site temporary child care, the coordinator gets to know the parents/guardians, their children, their needs and expectations through the completion of forms and in interactions before child care opens. Many of the concerns raised by parents/guardians must be addressed before-hand with limited opportunity for interaction and contact. As well, all the preparation needs to be done before members arrive at the event.

Physical space

In a traditional child care space, everything is already set up and the space has been designed to meet the needs of the ages of children in the program. For on-site temporary child care, a space at the event site needs to be transformed into an inviting environment for children. This means being creative and working with what is there, as well as planning the supplies and equipment that need to be brought in to support the program and keep the mixed-age group engaged.


In a traditional child care environment, child care providers work standard shifts with set lunch hours and breaks. In working at a union event, child care providers need to be flexible. Their hours may be longer than they are used to and may change throughout the event depending on the needs of the children. The union look for staff who reflect the diversity of our membership and can meet the special needs and language requirements of the children.

First impressions

In a typical child care situation, children will slowly transition into the program. In an on-site temporary child care setting, there is a limited transition period. Children arrive and stay for the whole day. The child care providers, with OPSEU/SEFPO assigned staff, will need to:

  • Make parents/guardians and children feel welcome and comfortable in a short amount of time.
  • Ensure all child care providers are aware of the children’s special needs, allergies, or other issues.
  • Ensure parents/guardians and children see that the program has been set up in an inclusive manner with books, toys and games that will interest everyone.

Roles and Responsibilities

Both the union and the child care providers work together to build a temporary child care program that is safe and of high quality. A clear definition of the roles and responsibilities of the union, of child care providers (including the Lead child care Provider) and of parents/guardians is essential to this process.

The Union’s responsibilities

  • Assign a Staff Coordinator who is responsible for arranging child care in advance of the event (see milestone document below) and an Event Coordinator who is responsible for child care at the event.
  • Event Coordinator (whoever is staffing the Child Care) – to send out periodic updates to the parents/guardians, and act as the contact person for the parents/guardians to contact.
  • Hire Lead Child Care Provider to oversee the on-site child care program.
  • Book a program space that will accommodate anticipated child care needs of the event
  • Hire additional Child Care Provider(s) as necessary.
  • Cover costs for child care provider(s), including travel, per diems, single-room accommodations, meals as per policy and procedure.
  • Cover costs associated with the provision of the program including program food (both catered and snacks), field trips (as determined), purchase and shipping of child care resources as necessary.
  • Promote the on-site child care program to event participants in advance.
  • Coordinate registration and completion of all pertinent forms, including circulating the Parent/Guardian Evaluation Form after the event.
  • Inspect toys to check for expiry dates, damages and recall.
  • Monitor child care throughout the event and respond to issues as required.

The Lead Child Care Provider’s responsibilities

  • Plan and deliver a high-quality child care program that includes culturally sensitive and age-appropriate activities and field trips.
  • Ensure child care providers have access to and briefing regarding information for each child.
  • Ensure child care providers are aware of protocols for the program.
  • Support the child care providers working at the event, ensuring have all required resources.
  • Set up a safe, welcoming, inclusive and well-equipped child care environment.
  • Be open to engagement with parents/guardians regarding the needs of their child.
  • Maintain communication with Staff Child Care Coordinator and/or Event Coordinator to ensure issues are identified and addressed promptly.
  • Clean up the child care space at the end of the union event, recruiting assistance from other Child Care Providers as necessary.
  • Inspecting toys and other child care resources at conclusion of the event to ensure suitability for future use. Damaged toys can be disposed and noted for Event Coordinator.
  • Up to 3 hours for preparation, set-up of child care space
  • Facilitate the completion of evaluation forms by parents/guardians and child care providers.

The Child Care Provider’s responsibilities

  • Meet the needs of all children registered by honouring inclusion and diversity.
  • Respect the role of parents/guardians who have responsibility for their child in accordance with child care protocols.
  • Maintain a safe, welcoming, inclusive and well-equipped child care environment.
  • Review information for each child and the protocols for child care environment.
  • Assist with setting up and maintaining the child care environment as directed by the Lead Child Care Provider.
  • Up to 3 hours for preparation, set-up of child care space
  • Complete child care provider evaluation form at end of event.

Parent/Guardian’s responsibilities

  • Ensuring forms are completed and submitted on time such as: emergency contacts, allergy/medication information, other needs that the childcare providers may need to know, communicating anticipated needs, connecting with event organizers.
  • Register for child care on or before the deadline of the event, completing and submitting all required forms related to their child’s requirements and supports.
  • Review and follow child care protocols as outlined in the child care confirmation email.
  • Notify staff at the first opportunity should child care no longer be required.
  • Complete child care evaluation form at end of event.

More information about Child Care

Child Care Provider qualifications

OPSEU/SEFPO is committed to ensuring on-site temporary child care is provided by qualified child care providers. The Event Coordinator is encouraged to hire child care providers that reflect the diversity of the OPSEU/SEFPO membership. At least one child care provider will hold a regulated designation including but not limited to Child Development Practitioner, Aboriginal Child Development Practitioner or Early Childhood Educator (ECE). Each child care provider will have a current vulnerable sector check and first aid certification.

Child Care provider ratios

OPSEU/SEFPO has increased the ratio of child care providers beyond the standard required by the Regulation 56 of the Day Nurseries Act (1990), to ensure children, parents/guardians, and providers experience the highest quality of child care at OPSEU/SEFPO functions. This increased ratio of child care providers ensures child care providers are able to take their statutory rest breaks, and child care providers can support special activities offered to children during care. In addition, increased number of child care providers will ease communication between providers and the OPSEU/SEFPO member who has placed the child in their care. The staff-child ratio as required by OPSEU/SEFPO is

Infant Birth to 18 months 1:2
Toddlers 18 – 30 months 1:4
Pre-schoolers 2.5 – 6 years 1:6
Juniors 6 – 7 years 1:8
Seniors 8 years and up 1:12


Child Care space

Those in charge of booking a venue will consider the space available for child care prior to the booking. Ideally, the child care space will have windows and adequate space outdoors will be be provided for children to participate in child care activities external to the event. A fire escape route will be shared by the venue and made available to staff, child care providers, and parents/guardians at the time child care is provided.

Milestone Guide to Implement Child Care

OPSEU/SEFPO shall assign a staff person to assume the role of Staff Coordinator for each central event where child care is provided. The Staff Coordinator will be the liaison between the Event Coordinator (staff on-site), the Lead Hand Provider, and other child care providers as required. Given child care needs depending on the nature of the event being hosted by OPSEU/SEFPO, the following offer guidelines only, intended to provide support to the staff Child Care Coordinator in the delivery of child care.

In preparation for child care at the event, staff will consider the following milestones:

  • Determine event dates and location
  • Send out event announcement highlighting provision of on-site child care
  • NOTE: child care registration deadline should be at least one month prior to event start date
  • Review child care requirements and recommendations checklist with hotel and book child care rooms
  • Inform potential child care providers of event dates and location, the name of staff Child Care Coordinator
  • Research child care field trips and logistics
  • Close Registration
  • Contact parents/guardians to confirm registration and invite to connect with provider before child care commences.
  • Review child care registration forms
  • Identify the number and age groups of children attending
  • Identify language needs, special needs for each child
  • Hire Lead Hand Provider and other child care providers as per ratios in policy,
  • Call hotel/venue and review child care requirements
  • Discuss menu including allergies and dietary restrictions
  • Book field trips and transportation, as necessary
  • Book child care providers accommodations
  • Ensure required supplies and equipment are purchased
  • Provide Lead Hand Provider with child care registration forms, including special needs and restrictions for each child
  • Ship child care equipment to venue, to attention of the event lead
  • Arrange return shipping for after the conference

NOTE: Staff should ensure the Lead Hand Provider is offered minimum three (3) hours to review documentation, clean and organize toys and equipment, and set child care space up before child care commences. This may happen the night before the child care space opens, subject to the availability of the child care room.

At the event, on-site staff will:

  • Inspect the child care space
  • Confirm that all necessary equipment is in place
  • Support Lead Child Care Provider in setting up child care space for open house the night before the child care begins or at registration
  • Ensure Lead Child Care Provider is able to review information about each child
  • Ensure Lead Child Care Provider communicates expectations with child care providers
  • Support Lead Child Care Provider cleaning-up site
  • Review and sign time sheets
  • Distribute and collect parent/guardian and provider evaluations

Setting Up the Child Care Environment

Thorough preparation of the child care environment is the key to safety and success.  Here are a number of questions to ask and things to consider.

Child Care Site Requirements

  • Try to get the largest area for the child care space. A room with windows, and an adjoining space for nap time would be best.
  • Use a non-smoking suite and floor. If the hotel/venue is pet friendly notify parents in advance in case there are children with allergies to pets.
  • Obtain a copy of the hotel/venue’s fire and evacuation plan.
  • Ask for a copy of the hotel/venue’s catering menu. Is it child friendly?
  • Check out the on-site pool if there is one.
    • Is there a lifeguard on duty?
    • What are the hours of operation?
    • Does the hotel/venue provide lifejackets and pool toys?
    • Will the pool be closed for maintenance during your stay?
    • Will the hotel/venue arrange for the use of a nearby pool for your group?
  • Does the hotel/venue provide a shuttle service to area attractions? If so, which ones? Is there a cost for using them?
  • Will the hotel/venue provide you with cribs, playpens, cots and highchairs if required?
  • Does the hotel have strollers for guests to use? What type?
  • Will the hotel/venue be able to equip your suite with a large fridge and microwave? Is Internet access available?
  • Request a flip chart.
  • Let the hotel/venue know you may need extra chairs.
  • Does the hotel/venue have a TV system connect to a laptop (for movies and videos)? Is it available during your program?
  • Arrange to have the child care space cleaned in the evening after the child care is closed or in the early morning before the children arrive.
  • Ask for extra towels, soap, garbage bags, toilet paper and Kleenex.

Environmental Assessment

  • Inspect the child care space.
  • Confirm that the equipment you asked for is in the space.
  • Determine the best use of the space for the various age groups of the children you will care for.
  • Maximize the floor space by removing unnecessary furniture.
  • Decide where various play zones will be set up.
  • Consider where the younger children will nap. An adjacent bedroom is the best solution.
  • For Lead Hand to communicate with Child Care Providers important information regarding the children, especially medical needs and allergy information, and where the information is located.

Safety First

  • Make sure you will be in a non-smoking environment.
  • Request a pet-free environment if children have allergies.
  • Deal with any hazards such as glass, exposed outlets and wires, and unstable furniture.
  • Cover sharp corners of furniture with safety caps.
  • Remove mini-bar access.
  • Check that fire evacuation and exit information is posted and for Child Care Providers to easily access.
  • Post your Emergency Phone Number Form. (A sample form is attached here.)
  • Ensure all medical, allergy, and food restriction information for each child is available to the Lead Child Care Provider responsible.
  • Let hotel staff know that child care room information is a security issue.

Integrating Older Children

  • Set up a separate space for older children if there are more than five in that age group.
  • Be sure that the space you have for this group is large enough (older children – bigger bodies).
  • Provide computers, games, activities, music and field trips that are geared to older children’s interests.
  • Be aware that these children will not want to spend the day in a room with infants and toddlers.
  • Arrange a time for the child care providers to take this group on a tour of the conference floor and to perhaps listen to the proceedings for a brief period.

Health Regulations

  1. Any child developing a fever during the day must go home immediately. A rectal temperature of 101oF (38C) is considered a fever.
  2. A child must be free of fever (unmedicated) for 24 hours before re-admittance to the child care center.

Exception: A child who has a fever as a result of teething (this must be agreed upon by staff and parent/guardian) may be re-admitted after the child has been free of fever (unmedicated) for only 12 hours. However, should this child be unusually irritable or require the constant attention of one staff member, the parents will be notice and must pick up the child.

  1. Any child who has had two liquid bowel movements (diarrhea) must go home. The child may be re-admitted 24 hours after the last liquid bowel movement.
  2. A child with continuous vomiting with or without symptoms must go home. The child may be re-admitted 24 hours after last vomiting session.
  3. Any potentially infectious condition (e.g. eye infection, suspicious body rash, etc.) should be seen by a doctor.
  4. The child will be re-admitted when a note has been obtained from the doctor stating that the condition is not contagious OR when the child has been free from this condition for 24 hours.
  5. If a child is unusually irritable or tired, the parents will be notified and may use their discretion as to whether they wish to take the child home for the remainder of the day.