Child Care in Squamish

Quality, accessible and affordable child care is vital to a healthy community and prosperous economy. Currently available child care space is severely limited and the District of Squamish is actively working with all levels of government and community partners to improve access as quickly as possible. This resource page provides important links to child care assessments and planning documents (needs, targets and action plan) and information for families and caregivers, child care operators, as well as the development and real estate community proposing child care facilities in existing or new development.

Childcare Access

Finding Care For Children Aged 0-5 and School Age (5-12 years, K-Grade 6)

The Sea to Sky Child Care Resource and Referral office coordinates local referrals and child care placements, as directed by the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development. To connect with the CCRR to access available child care space, please visit the Sea to Sky Child Care Resource and Referral website and contact:

Lisa McIntosh, Child Care Resource and Referral Coordinator

Telephone: 604-892-5796, ext 228

Squamish WebMap of Licensed Child Care Facilities (update in progress)


Child Care Facility Development

Mén̓mens ta smánit : Valleycliffe Child Care Facility (38425 Hemlock Avenue)

The District of Squamish received a total of $2,526,474 from the B.C. ChildCareBC New Spaces Fund to build a childcare facility co-located at Valleycliffe Elementary School in Squamish, in partnership with School District 48 and Sea to Sky Community Services Society. The facility will provide 36 new full-time spaces - 12 Infant/Toddler spaces plus 24 group care spaces (30-months to school age) in a new, 260 square metre stand-alone building. Read about the successful funding application.

Mén̓mens ta smánit will operate on the unceded, ancestral territory of the Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation). The Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) name bestowed by the Nation for the childcare centre is Mén̓mens ta smánit. This name reflects the mountain that the children are underneath (Siy’ám’ Smánit, The Stawamus Chief), and suggests that the children belong to that mountain, or are under its care.


Construction Update! June 2024

Detailed site planning and design began late Fall 2022. With municipal permitting  complete, site preparation, servicing and construction began in February 2024. The project's projected completion and facility opening is January 2025.

For more information about the facility and the long-term operator, visit the Sea to Sky Community Services Society facility information page. Community updates on the facility's progress will continue to be posted to this resource page. More information about the childcare waitlist will be communicated to the community on this page.

December 2023 Project and Construction Update Letter

November 10, 2022 Neighbourhood  Information Posters

Childcare Priority Development Review

The District is updating its Priority Development Application Review Policy to formalize its current practice of expediting development applications that include child care facilities, in light of the urgent need for increased childcare access in the community.

View the draft updated policy (September 2023)


Child Care Facility Guide (2020)

The Squamish Child Care Facility Guide was created to help child care providers navigate the provincial and municipal requirements for opening, expanding, renovating, or relocating a child care centre in Squamish. This resource was developed in close consultation with Vancouver Coastal Health Child Care Licensing Office, the Sea to Sky Community Services' Child Care Resource and Referral, Squamish Building and Squamish Fire Rescue staff, as well as ECE Students at Capilano University.

View the Squamish Child Care Facility Guide

Provincial Funding and Resources for Child Care

Space Creation Funding and Resources - resources for ChildCareBC New Spaces Fund, start-up grants, and guidelines for licensed child care facilities

Child Care Savings Programs - resources for families including the BC Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative, Affordable Child Care Benefit, $10 a Day ChildCareBC Centres, and Young Parent Program

Squamish Child Care Action Plan

On May 19, 2020 Council endorsed the Squamish Childcare Action Plan. The Action Plan identifies high priority recommendations from the Squamish Child Care Needs Assessment and Strategy 2018-2023 (see link at bottom of this page) and includes practical next steps for advancing each recommendation. In October 2020 the plan was accepted by the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

View the Squamish Child Care Action Plan (with October 2020 addenda)

This 12-month community-based project aimed to develop tangible ways to improve the access rate for affordable, accessible and high-quality child care, in line with projected growth. The District collaborated with families, partners, child care agencies and providers on tactics to accelerate child care space provision wherever possible, and to simultaneously address barriers and constraints for expanding private, non-profit and public child care facilities to help meet existing and future projected child care demand. Specific activities included:

  • Refining Squamish child care targets for the next 5-10 years, with a specific focus on the number of spaces required in each age group/license type, by (neighbourhood) location and opportunities for co-location, operational flexibility (hours) as well as program supports for underserved populations.
  • Identifying organizational leadership, critical partnerships and required resources to improve and sustain child care access rates in line with demonstrated needs.
  • Review and improved alignment of child care licensing processes (provincial regulations and municipal requirements) to develop synchronized processes and public resources for child care providers/operators.

Squamish Child Care Action Planning was funded by the Community Child Care Planning program of the Province of BC. Strong planning at the community level helps to inform future investments in child care space creation by the Government of British Columbia and ensure child care spaces are created in areas with the greatest need.

Child Care Action Plan Materials

Squamish Child Care Objectives and Policies

Quality, accessible and affordable child care is vital to a healthy community and prosperous economy. All levels of government, community service agencies, families, and businesses have a shared interest in supporting child development and child care services. Ensuring quality care provides significant social and economic benefits: it reduces developmental vulnerabilities and improves school readiness, reduces social isolation especially among single parents or care givers, and supports business attraction and recruitment, retaining employees and developing a skilled workforce.

While child care licensing and funding is a provincial responsibility, local governments play an important leadership role in planning, coordinating and advocating for child care and supporting the delivery of quality child care and early learning spaces.

The Squamish2040 Official Community Plan includes objectives and policies for accessible, affordable, quality child care to meet demand throughout the community. The District will work with community partners to:

  • Closely monitor and assess local child care needs, including the number and distribution of licensed daycares throughout the community;
  • Encourage and help to facilitate the provision of on-site amenity child care space within neighbourhood developments, and
  • Advocate for increased senior government funding for quality affordable childcare.
Staff Contact - Child Care Liaison

Sarah McJannet, Planner, 604-815-5096

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Needs Assessment and Strategy

  • Squamish Child Care Needs Assessment and Strategy 2018-2023

    In 2018, the District helped to fund and participated in the development of a long-term child care strategy to address critical issues such as lack of available space, shortage and high cost of care for children under 36 months, and the need for before and after school-age care. The needs assessment and strategy was completed by SPARC BC, under the leadership and direction of the Sea to Sky Putting Children First Initiative early years planning table.

    The strategy establishes a vision for child care in Squamish and sets new space targets for the next five years. Three strategic directions are recommended to guide all child care initiatives in Squamish over the next five years: (1) prioritize a “whole community” approach to child care, (2) increase child care accessibility and affordability, and (3) improve child care quality. Recommended actions for each strategic direction are identified in the report, as well as implementation timelines and identification of the key actors needed to animate each action.

Child Care Facilities & Licensing

  • Provincial Child Care Regulations & Licensing

    A community care facilities licence is required for all programs and facilities providing care to three or more children who are not related to the operator by blood or marriage. All facilities must be in compliance with the Community Care and Assisted Living Act, the Residential Care Regulations and the Child Care Licensing Regulations.

    Licensed child care programs are monitored and regularly inspected by the regional health authority, Vancouver Coastal Health, to ensure facilities meet specific requirements for health and safety, staffing qualifications, record keeping, space and equipment, child-to-staff ratios, and programming. Helpful Vancouver Coastal Health licensing links and child care resources are below:

  • Municipal Zoning, Building Permits & Business Licensing for Child Care Facilities

    The District of Squamish Zoning Bylaw 2200, 2011 regulates zoning child care facilities, including permissible locations, maximum number of children and parking requirements. Child care facilities must comply with all zoning requirements, as well as building and fire code.

    Child care facilities are permitted in most zones within the Municipality, including multi-residential zones, local/neighbourhood commercial, mixed-use areas and many comprehensive development zones.

    In-home child care facilities are defined as CHILD CARE FACILITY, RESIDENTIAL, permitting the use of a dwelling unit for the care of not more than 16 children where licensed according to the Child Care Licensing Regulation under the Community Care and Assisted Living Act. In-home child care is considered a Home Occupation, and may be located in single detached dwelling, a multi-unit dwelling as permitted in the bylaw, or in a Secondary Suite provided that there will only be one such use per property.

    Note that if you wish to care for more than 8 children, you will be required to make significant upgrades to your existing home to meet Building and Fire Code. A child care facility (>8 children) is classified as an A-2 assembly occupancy. With building reclassification for assembly occupancy, typical upgrades include installation of sprinkler and fire alarm systems, adding a firewall, and enhancing fire separations and fire ratings of exists, floor and roof assemblies. It is recommended that existing or future child care providers review all bylaw requirements and engage professional assistance (registered architect or professional engineer) as early as possible for BC Building Code and fire code requirements for improvements that require a building permit application with scaled architectural drawings.

  • District of Squamish Business Licensing

    A valid business licence is required for child care operators conducting business within the District of Squamish. To apply for a business license, you can access forms and fees here. Note that in 2018, the District reduced the annual business license fee for a child care facility to $1.00.

    For residential child care facilities with more than 8 children, licensees are required to notify neighbours within 100 metres of the property of facility operating hours and submit a traffic management plan depicting existing and proposed off-street and on-street parking availability, access and egress from the site and a strategy for reducing the impact the additional traffic may have on the neighbourhood. (Business License Bylaw No. 2455)

    Search the Squamish map of licensed child care providers in your neighbourhood. (note: this is a list of businesses currently licensed by the District of Squamish).

  • Child Care Amenities in Land Development

    Through the land development process, the District also plays a role in facilitating the creation infrastructure over and above basic services that are levied through development cost charges. Community amenity contributions (CACs) are intended to address the additional demands that result from new development proposals. Financial tools and mechanisms are used to leverage facilities and land as the District negotiates CACs as part of applications for rezoning and OCP amendments to ensure “growth pays for growth.

    The District of Squamish Community Amenity Contribution (CAC) Policy outlines the District’s expectations of developers' contributions that are negotiated as part of amendments proposed to the Zoning Bylaw or Official Community Plan by developers. The CAC policy is focused on affordable housing contributions along with park and active transportation amenities and cash contributions toward affordable housing and critical facilities. Creation and integration of childcare spaces and services may be considered as otherwise directed by Council. The District is in the process of updating the CAC policy in 2022.

Resources for Parents and Caregivers

Province of British Columbia

  • Childcare BC Plan

    In April 2018, the Province of British Columbia committed to the Childcare BC plan. In moving from the current fragmented system of child care to a more universal care model, the province has initiated supports to improve affordable child care access through child care benefits and fee reductions, operating and capital funding programs for new and existing spaces, wage support for early childhood workers, and training support. More information is available here.

    To share your needs and thoughts on improving child care access and services, contact the Province of BC:

    Honourable Katrina Chen

    Minister of State for Child Care

    Parliament Buildings

    Victoria, British Columbia V8V 1X4

    [email protected]

    Ministerial Mandate Letter

  • Childcare BC New Spaces Funding Update April 2022

    • The District of Squamish has received $2,000,100 from the B.C. ChildCareBC New Spaces Fund to build and co-locate a municipally-owned childcare facility at Valleycliffe Elementary School in Squamish in partnership with School District 48 and Sea to Sky Community Services Society. The facility will provide 36 new full-time spaces - 12 Infant/Toddler spaces plus 24 group care spaces (30-months to school age) in a new, 250 square metre stand-alone building. The school site is centrally located in the Valleycliffe neighbourhood, adjacent to a municipally-owned park. The childcare centre will be supported by a long-term lease agreement between School District 48 and District of Squamish, and operated long-term by Sea to Sky Community Services SocietyConstruction of the project is expected to begin in Summer 2022. The facility is anticipated be fully operational in Fall 2023. *Future updates will be shared via this webpage, including progress reports and future registration details through Sea to Sky Community Services Society.

      The ChildCareBC New Spaces Fund provides funding to projects that support the creation of new childcare spaces in order to help families access quality, affordable and inclusive childcare across the province. For more information about the program visit


Early Childhood Education and Development Resources

Post your comment


  • Andrea Fossum Feb 5, 2023, 12:44 PM (18 months ago)

    Looking for child care

  • Neal Sikkes Nov 24, 2019, 5:47 PM (5 years ago)

    As a real estate professional, I can attest to the dire need for additional childcare facilities in Squamish. It is a contributing factor in families choosing to move to Squamish or not. I personally have had many professional skilled individuals that would be assets to the community opt not to purchase and move to Squamish as a result of lack of childcare. This is an urgent issue that if left unresloved will impact the growth and sustainability of the community.

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