Running a Daycare or Preschool in BC
In B.C., child care providers must have a licence if they look after more than two children or a sibling group, not related to them.
Regional health authority Community Care Facility Licensing programs issue child care facility licences and are responsible for monitoring and inspecting the facility after it is licensed. They also investigate all complaints about a facility's care, supervision and safety.
Licensed child care programs must meet provincial government requirements in the Child Care Licensing Regulation for:
- Health and safety
- Staffing qualifications
- Staff-to-child ratios
- Space and equipment
- Program standards
How to Set Up a Child Care Business
Apply for a community care facility licence: Visit Open a Licensed Child Day Care to learn more. There is no cost to apply or receive a licence, but there may be some associated costs such as criminal record checks, first aid training or municipal business licence.
Check with local government: Contact the municipality your business will be located in to ask about a business licence, zoning bylaws and fire inspections.
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 (962 KB 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)
Unlicensed (or licence-not-required) child care providers may care for only 2 children or a sibling group, not related to them, at any one time. Learn more about licenced and unlicenced child care