Licensed & Unlicensed Child Care in B.C.

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, staffing qualifications, space and equipment, staff to child ratio, and program standards. Licensed child care programs are monitored and inspected by regional health authority Community Care Facility Licensing programs.

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

Licence-Not-Required Child Care

Unlicensed (licence-not-required) child care providers may care for only two children or a sibling group, not related to them, at any one time.  If they care for more than the allowed number of children outlined in the Community Care and Assisted Living Act, they may be operating illegally.

  • Registered Licence-Not-Required Care (RLNR) providers are registered with a Child Care Resource and Referral Centre. The registration process includes criminal record checks, references, a home-setting review, and first aid. 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 RLNR.
  • Licence-Not-Required Care (LNR) providers are not required to meet any standards for health, or safety. LNR providers are not monitored or inspected. Parents and guardians are responsible for overseeing 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