Licensed & Unlicensed Child Care in BC

There are two types of child care in B.C.: licensed and licence-not required.

Licensed Child Care

Licensed child care programs provide care for three or more children. They must meet specific requirements for health and safety, licence application, staffing qualifications, quality space and equipment, staff to child ratio, and program standards.

Group Child Care

Serves children from 30 months to school entry (Grade 1), and children from birth to 36 months

Multi-Age Child Care

Similar to Group Child Care but serves children from birth to age 12


Serve children from 30 months to school entry. Preschools are part-day programs, typically operating on the school-year, September to June

Family Child Care

Offered in the child care providers own home, and serves a maximum of 7 children from birth to age 12

In-Home Multi-Age Child Care

Offered in the child care providers own home, and serves a maximum of 8 children from birth to age 12

Group Child Care (School Age)

Serves school-age children, including kindergarten, who require care outside normal school hours

Occasional Child Care

Available for children who are at least 18 months old and for part-time or occasional care only. Care is for a maximum of 8 hours a day and no more than 40 hours per calendar month

Multi-Age Child Care Categories

The Multi-Age child care categories allow early childhood educators (ECEs) to care for the same number of children as they would care for in a group setting because of their specific training.

The In-Home Multi-Age Child Care category allows ECEs to provide child care for up to eight children of various ages, without rezoning their residence. This helps create more spaces in home-based settings and provide flexibility in rural / remote communities where there may be fewer child care providers.


Licence-Not-Required Child Care

Unlicensed (or licence-not-required) child care providers can care for two children or a sibling group at any one time – as long as the children are not related by blood or marriage to the child care provider.

Registered Licence-Not-Required Care (RLNR) providers are registered with a Child Care Resource and Referral Centre. The registration process includes criminal record checks, character and physicians references, a home-setting review, as well as providing proof of first aid and child care training. Registered care providers have access to support, training, resources and group liability insurance. Also, families are eligible for a higher subsidy rate if they use a registered care provider instead of a non-registered one.

Licence-Not-Required Care (LNR) providers are not required to meet standards of care set by any external agencies. Parents and guardians are responsible for monitoring and supervising the care of their child in these arrangements.

In-Own-Home Care is when parents arrange for someone to look after their child in their own home. Parents choose how to screen and hire the provider which will be considered an employee. Choosing this option means that parents are responsible for:

  • Making regular payments to Employment Insurance and Canada Pension Plan
  • Registering the employment situation with Revenue Canada and WorkSafeBC