An on-site evaluation as defined by Alberta Child Care Accreditation Evaluation and Scoring Framework is the on-site evaluation process, where the accrediting agency will collect evidence to validate whether the program has consistently met the accreditation standards (commonly known as a site visit).

​​It is during an on-site evaluation that programs are given the opportunity to demonstrate how they meet the accreditation standards through consistency of evidence.

It is the participating program's responsibility to prepare for and provide all the documentation and information necessary for the on-site evaluation.  Only after a program has completed the Accreditation Guide (including the Self-evaluation Workbook, along with a Policy and Documents List and a Quality Enhancement Plan can the coordination and scheduling of an on-site evaluation begin.

​Type of Site Visits

The following site visits are categorized in several types based on which stage in the accreditation process they occur and what requirements the programs must meet to complete them.  Once each of these site visits are confirmed and scheduled, they follow the same on-site evaluation process as described in the Child Care Accreditation Evaluation and Scoring Framework

  • Initial accreditation site visit
    Completed for a child care program that is in the pre-accreditation phase  and has not been previously accredited. This on-site evaluation is scheduled only when a program has generated their Quality Enhancement Plan, along with their Policy and Documents Lists on the Program Accreditation Library.  The program must submit a site visit request, and all documentation within the registration package must be completed for an on-site evaluation to be scheduled.

  • Re-accreditation site visit

    Completed for accredited child care programs whose Accreditation Certificate is about to or has expired.  The timing of this on-site evaluation is based on the program's Accreditation Certificate expiry date.  The QEP and Policy and Documents List must be generated in the Program's Accreditation Library three months prior to the program's certificate expiry date, otherwise the program will miss the opportunity to be re-accredited by their expiration date.  If a program does not complete the QEP and other documentation necessary for scheduling the re-accreditation site visit within 3 months after the Accreditation Certificate expiry date, the accreditation agency will close the program's file.  The program will be required to have a six-month waiting period before they become eligible to apply for accreditation again.

  • Subsequent site visit

    Completed for a child care program that was denied accredited status as a result of a preceding on-site evaluation. Programs are given six months to prepare for and request a subsequent site visit after a previous site visit failure. Before a request for this on-site evaluation can be approved, a program must meet the eligibility criteria as established by the accreditation agency and approved by the Government of Alberta. This on-site evaluation is scheduled only when a program submits a Subsequent Site Visit request form and has updated their Quality Enhancement Plan to address the items on their denial letter.  A program will be required to complete a Self-evaluation Workbook in the event of a failed Subsequent Site Visit.

  • License/Contract Holder Site Visit
    Completed for programs that were issued a Temporary Accreditation Status notice as a result of the program having undergone a license/contract holder change.  Programs are responsible for the cost of this on-site evaluation.  Click here for details.


Site Visit Request

When a pre-accredited child care program is ready, they need to request an on-site evaluation from the accreditation agency. The site visit request is submitted through the Program Accreditation Library (PAL) to the accreditation agency, along with the program's Quality Enhancement Plan, and other documentation as required. Before a request for an on-site evaluation can be approved, a program must meet the eligibility criteria as established by the accreditation agency and approved by the Government of Alberta. Programs that are identified as new to the accreditation process (meaning they have never applied for accreditation before) can request an on-site evaluation only after a minimum period of 10 months from their application date. 

Programs going through re-accreditation do not submit a site visit request.

Site Visit Readiness

Accreditation of Early Learning and Care Services will not complete an on-site evaluation if a program does not acknowledge that they are ready. 
A program is considered ready for a site visit when they have completed the Accreditation Guide.

The following documents must be completed prior to coordinating and scheduling an on-site evaluation:

  • Self-evaluation Workbook 

  • Quality Enhancement Plan (must be generated on PAL)

  • Policy List (must be generated on PAL)

  • Documents List (must be generated on PAL)

  • Consent Forms

  • Surveys

Programs declare that they are prepared for their on-site evaluation and are responsible to provide the evidence to support that declaration.  If the accreditation agency's Validators determine, during a site visit, that the program is not ready, as per the following examples:  A significant portion of the program's self-evaluation process is incomplete; the necessary documentation is not organized and/or available, then the on-site evaluation will be terminated and the program may be charged a cancellation fee. A terminated site visit is automatically considered a site visit failure.


Site Visit Ineligibility

Programs are not eligible for an on-site evaluation if they have been issued a Probationary License from Alberta Children's Services.

Programs are not eligible for a on-site evaluation if they are temporarily re-located.

Site Visit Scheduling

Initial Accreditation and Subsequent Site Visits
After the accreditation agency approves a site visit request from a program, the Site Visit Coordinator will inform the program of the two-week time frame during which the on-site evaluation will occur.  Typically, on-site evaluations will occur 4-8 weeks after a site visit request is approved. 

Re-accreditation Site Visit

An accredited program that is approaching the end of its accreditation term will be contacted by the Site Visit Coordinator to book an on-site evaluation.   Programs are not required to submit a site visit request, but a re-accreditation site visit may be scheduled up to 3 months prior to the program's certificate expiry date. The timing of the on-site evaluation, at a minimum, must be 4-6 weeks prior to their accreditation certificate expiry date.

Site Visit Cancellation

If a program cancels/postpones a previously scheduled on-site evaluation without adequate notice or significant reason, the program will be subject to a cancellation fee.  Accreditation of Early Learning and Care Services will also inform Alberta Children's Services and the Child Care Accreditation Funding Program of cancelled or postponed on-site evaluations. This may affect the child care program's accreditation funding provisions.