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City set to exceed goal for new childcare spaces in Vancouver

January 4 2017

"Building more childcare spaces for Vancouver families is a big priority at City Hall and we are making good progress," says Mayor Robertson.

Children at a playground

With two years left to meet our goal, we have hit almost 75% of our four-year target to create 1,000 new childcare spaces in Vancouver.

As of the end of 2016, 734 new childcare spaces have been approved as part of this record investment in expanding childcare in Vancouver.

Council-directed target

As part of the Council-directed target for 2015-2018:

  • 251 new spaces have been built since 2015
  • 483 spaces are committed and currently under development

"Building more childcare spaces for Vancouver families is a big priority at City Hall and we are making good progress," says Mayor Robertson. "There is huge demand for child care in Vancouver and our city is a leader in recognizing that quality affordable child care supports children, families, and the economy. In two years we've already created 75% of our goal of a thousand new childcare spaces by 2019, and we will continue to do everything we can to expand good child care options across our city."

Creating new childcare centres

Vancouver School Board facilities

In 2016, we partnered with the Vancouver Board of Education to co-locate new 69 space childcare centres for children up to four years old, as part of elementary school seismic replacement projects. Co-locating full-day childcare at elementary schools offers families a convenient 'one-stop' approach to early learning and care services, and is an efficient use of public space that improves access to quality childcare.

This year, a new school-childcare project was also approved at Lord Tennyson (Kitsilano) elementary school, following the Sir Sandford Fleming (Victoria-Fraserview), and Lord Nelson (Grandview-Woodland) school projects, which were approved in 2015.

City-owned facilities

We are also exploring innovative and cost effective opportunities to co-locate childcare centres with other existing City-owned facilities, including new and replacement community centres. One such opportunity is the proposed development of a 37-space childcare centre on top of the City-owned parkade facility in Gastown.

The project is currently undergoing final feasibility studies, with design-development expected to be underway in 2017. The Government of BC contributed $500,000 through the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) to help with the construction of the Gastown parkade childcare centre.

Reaching our Healthy City Strategy Good Start Goal

Our Healthy City Strategy's Good Start Goal to decrease child vulnerability and improve school readiness, is reinforced through the creation of quality childcare spaces.

Children that have a good start in their first six years of life tend to:

  • Do better at school
  • Secure better paid jobs
  • Enjoy better physical, and mental health as adults

The Healthy City Strategy's Good Start goals support children, parents, and families to ensure that Vancouver's children have the best chance of enjoying a healthy childhood.

Our city's need for childcare

Despite our strides towards our childcare target, the need for childcare spaces in Vancouver remains acute. The current supply of childcare spaces across the city indicates that only approximately 32% of existing childcare needs (for all children up to 12 years) are being met. This leaves a current city-wide shortfall of over 18,000 spaces.

Childcare is a senior government responsibility, and to meet both existing shortfalls and future demand for childcare in Vancouver, we look to support from the Provincial and Federal governments. We are also anticipating the arrival of the Federal National Early Learning and Child Care Framework, to help deliver accessible and affordable childcare for Canadian families.

How we play a role in planning, coordinating, and advocating for childcare and early learning programs