Running a Daycare or Preschool in BC
The first thing to decide when setting up a child care business is whether to operate as a licenced or unlicenced facility.
In B.C., child care providers must have a licenced facility if they look after more than two children or a sibling group who are not related to them. Licensed child care programs provide parents with peace of mind because they meet provincial government requirements for:
- Health and safety
- Licence application
- Staffing qualifications
- Staff-to-child ratios
- Space and equipment
- Program standards
Unlicensed (or licence-not-required) child care providers may decide to voluntarily register their program or not.
How to Set Up a Child Care Business
Apply for a facility licence: Each Health Authority Community Care Facility Licensing program reviews applications to make sure that they meet the basic health, safety and care requirements for licensed child day care facilities outlined in the Child Care Licensing Regulation. There is no cost to apply or receive a licence.
Applications to open a child day care must include:
- A detailed description of the program to be offered
- The proposed number of employees, their qualifications and duties
- Building, site and floor plans
- Projected monthly budget
- References and criminal record checks
The application process also includes a site inspection, personal assessment (to make sure you'll be a good care provider), and a review of your program's policies and procedures.
Check with local government: Contact the municipality your business will be located in to ask about a business licence, zoning bylaws and fire inspections.
Get more info: Also check with the library or other child care providers for information about starting a child care facility or other topics related to running a business successfully. Keep in mind that laws and regulations change over time and apply differently to different types of child care facilities.
Here are a few other resources to help with planning:
- How to manage a business
- Help Writing a Child Care Business Plan
- Guidance & Financing for Child Care Providers
- Child Care Major Capital Funding Program
- Child Care Minor Capital Funding Program
- Child Care Operating Funding Program
- Child Care Subsidy
Follow the Rules
Licensing officers from the local health authority monitor each child care facility to make sure the needs of the children in care and requirements are being met. This will include ongoing discussions, inspections and response to complains (if necessary).
Work closely with your licensing officer to make sure you understand what is expected. They're available to discuss issues, make site visits and provide education.
Get more info by connecting with your local Child Care Resource and Referral Centre and reviewing these resources:
- A Guide to Community Care Facility Licensing (PDF)
- Obtaining a Licence (PDF)
- Role of the Licensing Officer (PDF)
- Role of the Licensee (PDF)
- Licensing Exemptions (PDF)
- Care Plan (PDF)
- Moving to a New Location (PDF)
- Responsible Adult (PDF)
- Outcome-Based Standards (PDF)
- Furnishings and Equipment Guidelines for Licensed Child Care Facilities (PDF)
- Fire and Life Safety for Licensed Home Based Child Care Settings in B.C. (PDF)
- Guiding Children's Behaviour (PDF)
- Preventing Illness in Child Care Settings (PDF)
- Preventing Injury in Child Care Settings (PDF)
- Quick Guide to Common Childhood Diseases (PDF)