Childcare centres (CPE) and day care centres must have an outdoor play space suitably and safely laid out (or have access to a public park within 500 metres), because children need to be physically active in a safe environment so they can develop. The layout of the outdoor play space must also facilitate the role of the childcare staff.
When childcare centres (CPE) and day care centres decide to establish an outdoor play area integrating outdoor play equipment, they have the following obligations:
- comply with the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standard, the application of which makes it possible to prevent accidents and injuries;
- maintain the equipment;
- keep the registers provided for to this effect;
- record everything in their annual report.
Each childcare centre (CPE) and each day care centre must provide the Ministère de la Famille with a certificate of compliance, issued by a professional qualified to conduct the required inspections, attesting that the outdoor play space and its equipment comply with the CSA standard. The certificate is valid for a three-year period.
On the occasion of their regular inspections, the Department's inspections pay special attention to the outdoor play areas, particularly focusing on breaks in equipment and protective surfaces.
Contrary to childcare centres (CPE) and day care centres, the home childcare provider is not obliged to make an outdoor yard available to the children. However, when the HCP does so, he or she is responsible for ensuring that any climbing apparatus, swing, slide or similar outdoor equipment has smooth surfaces with no sharp edges, is safe and is installed according to the manufacturer's instructions.
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