Accessing Child Care
Learn about the types of child care and how to access them.
Accessing child care
Child care (sometimes known as daycare) is the care and supervision of a child or children under the age of 13. This includes home daycare or a child care centre such as a preschool.
Child care in B.C. falls within one of two categories: licensed care or unlicensed care. Whether or not a child care program requires a licence depends on the following:
- The number of children in the provider’s care
- The duration of the program
- The main goal(s) of the program
Licensed & unlicensed child care
Unlicensed child care in B.C. consists of family child care homes that are not regulated. These facilities are allowed a maximum of two children or one sibling group in care, in addition to the care provider’s own children.
There are two types of unlicensed care facilities recognized in B.C.: licence-not-required (LNR) and registered licence-not-required (RLNR).
- Not registered with a Child Care Resource and Referral (CCRR) Centre
Registered Licence-Not-Required (RLNR)
These are registered with a Child Care Resource and Referral (CCRR) centre program. Registering with a CCRR centre requires that RLNR facilities meet a set of registration criteria established by the Ministry of Children and Family Development. These criteria include the following:
- A criminal record check (for everyone over the age of 12 living in the home)
- Character references
- A home safety assessment
- A physician’s report on the provider’s physical and emotional capacity to care for children
- First aid training
- Participation in child care training courses or workshops
- Families that place their children in RLNR facilities may be eligible to receive an enhanced subsidy rate that is higher than in LNR facilities
A licence is required for a child care facility when care is being provided to three or more children who are not related to the caregiver by blood or marriage.
Licensed care must meet and comply with the Community Care Assisted Living Act and the Child Care Licensing Regulation. The Act sets law around licensing for community care facilities that offer care to vulnerable people in child day care, and the Regulation sets out the following:
- Health and safety requirements
- Licence application requirements
- Training requirements for child care provider and staff
- Staff-to-child ratios (number of staff required for a group of children, and how large a group can be)
- Space and equipment
- Program standards
- Nutrition and meals
- Outdoor space and time
- Guiding children in how to behave
- Health and safety
Types of licensed child care/daycare programs
- Group child care (under 36 months)
- Group child care (30 months to school age)
- Preschool (30 months to school age): up to four hours of care per day to children who are at least 30 months old on entrance to the program and 36 months old by December 31 of the year of entrance
- Group child care (school age): care before or after school or during periods of school closure to children who attend school, including kindergarten
- Family child care: care for up to seven children in the licensee’s personal home and where the licensee personally provides the care
- Occasional care: no more than 40 hours of care in a month to children who are at least 18 months old
- Multi-age child care: care to eight children of various ages; the licensee must have a current Early Childhood Educator Certificate to be eligible to offer this care
- In-home multi-age care: care for up to eight children in the licensee’s personal home and where the licensee personally provides the care; the licensee must have a current Early Childhood Educator Certificate to be eligible to offer this care
- School age care on school grounds: provides care at a school before or after school hours, or on a day of school closure, to children who attend school, including kindergarten
- Recreational care:
- Provides care after school hours or on a day of school closure on a drop-in basis to children who attend school, including kindergarten,
- Is provided by a licensee who is a local government within the meaning of the Local Government Act, an Indigenous governing body within the meaning of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act or a charitable, philanthropic or other not-for-profit organization
- Is not provided in a single family dwelling house
- Child-minding: care for children younger than 13 years of age where their parents or caregivers are receiving services from a person who, under contract to the government, operates a program that provides services to newcomers to Canada with English as a second language and settlement or labour market integration
Find a facility
Use this interactive map to search for child care by:
- Distance from your home address
- Program type (under 36 months to age 12)
- Hours of operation (weekday, weekend, overnight, early morning, late night)
- Services offered (meals, additional languages, special needs, Indigenous programming)
Children needing extra support
B.C. has established the Supported Child Development (SCD) program for children 0-12 with disabilities. This program is free of charge and assists families and child care providers to fully include children needing extra support in typical child care settings.
If a child has developmental delays or a diagnosis of a physical, emotional or intellectual impairment that requires extra support, a care plan to detail how extra support is to be provided is required.
These websites provide detailed information to help you make informed decisions about child care:
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