Child Care in Squamish


New Squamish Child Care Facility Guide Available Now

The Squamish Child Care Facility Guide is intended 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 Serivces' 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

View Squamish WebMap of Licensed Child Care Facilities

Childcare Response to COVID-19

The District continues to coordinate with Vancouver Coastal Health, the Sea to Sky Child care Resource Referral Office, Sea to Sky Community Services and School District 48 to help to facilitate required care for families in the community and to support essential services workers during the ongoing COVID response period.

Child care information and support for parents, caregivers and child care operators during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here.

Funding and Guidelines for Child Care Providers

Click here for important updates on the Ministry of Children & Family Development Response to COVID-19, website including public health guidance for child care settings, Q&As for the child care sector, as well as funding for childcare providers, and family subsidies through the Affordable Child Care Benefit.

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

As directed by the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development, the Sea to Sky Child Care Resource and Referral office coordinates local referrals and child care placements. 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 Child Care Action Planning

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 Liason

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, in some limited cases, cash contributions toward affordable housing and critical facilities. Creation and integration of childcare spaces and services may be considered as otherwise directed by Council.

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

    Ministerial Mandate Letter

  • Community Child Care Space Creation Program
    • In March 2019, the District was successful in obtaining provincial capital funding available to BC municipalities and regional districts to create new licensed child care spaces in the community through the Community Child Care Space Creation Program. The fund, administered by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM), has provided the District of Squamish with $851,000 to create 36 new licensed child care spaces for infants, toddlers and preschool age children.

      The project is a partnership between the District of Squamish, School District 48 (SD48), and Sea to Sky Community Services Society (SSCS). The facility at Valleycliffe Elementary School is expected to provide 12 Infant/Toddler plus 24 group care spaces (30 mo. to school age) in a stand-alone building of approximately 250m2. The funding agreement requires its continued operation for a minimum operating period of 15 years by a non-profit child care provider (SSCS). This 24-month project is currently in the initial planning stages and is anticipated for completion in Spring 2021. Information and updates on facility progress and future program registration will be shared later in 2020.

Early Childhood Education and Development Resources

Post your comment


  • Neal Sikkes Nov 24, 2019, 5:47 PM (23 months 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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