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Developing a childcare centre

The City helps create high quality, licensed childcare facilities throughout Vancouver.

Staff work with developers, architects, landscape architects, and early childhood educators to make sure that every new center includes urban design best practices, and contributes to a child’s mental and physical development.

Steps for establishing a childcare centre

1. Design a healthy centre

The City can help you create a safe and supportive early learning environment that also conforms to provincial guidelines.

2. Apply for a provincial license

Meet with Vancouver Coastal Health’s Community Care Facility Licensing (CCFL) department to review your facility’s interior space and playground, and apply for an operating license.

3. Apply for a development permit

Submit a ‘change of use’ development permit application to City Hall. You can streamline the process by including details of your VCH application, operational plan, completed permit application form and payment.

4. Finalize your facility design

Work with the City and CCFL staff to incorporate the City’s building code and development permit requirements into your final design, to ensure your new childcare space is safe and healthy.

5. Apply for your building permit

Get final approval to start building your center, by submitting a completed building permit application form, owner’s undertaking letter, and copies of detailed working drawings.

6. Finalize natural outdoor play space designs

While you are building or renovating your centre’s interior, work with VCH to create an outdoor playground design that encourages children’s mental development and physical fitness.

7. Apply for an occupancy permit

After all of your construction is done, have the City do a final inspection to ensure that your space is safe, and designed to support healthy child development. Once you pass your inspection, apply for your occupancy permit.

8. Receive your license to open your new daycare

Once the City has given your space a green light, VCH will inspect it to make sure all of their requirements have been met, then issue your final license.

To save you time and disappointment later, we recommend that you start by developing a viable facility and business plan to make sure your project is feasible.

Getting started

If you are ready to start planning a daycare facility, begin by downloading the City's complete guidelines and checklists, which will guide you through the entire development process:

After reviewing the documents, please contact the Enquiry Centre for help putting your plans into action.

More help for developing a childcare centre

Child development resources

City staff have gathered a number of useful resources to help you establish a high-quality licensed daycare facility.

School-age Care Expansion Projects Grant Program

This program offers small grants for non-profit organizations, to assist with the capital costs of outfitting rooms in schools to house licensed childcare.

City funding for childcare providers

Social Innovation Project Grants

Provides funding to social service organizations to turn innovative ideas into viable projects that address social change, create or enhance social inclusion and belonging, and help Vancouver's most vulnerable residents.

Childcare Enhancement Grants

Provides funds to non-profit organizations to support new and existing daycares.

Childcare Program Stabilization Grants

Provides funds for non-profit daycare centres facing financial emergencies, to help them strengthen their cash flow and better manage their money.

Childcare Program Development Grants

Provides funds to licensed non-profit daycares to help cover costs for starting new programs or expanding existing ones.

Capital Project Grants

Includes the Downtown Eastside (DTES) Capital Grants and Social Policy Capital Grants. Provides support for capital projects that preserve or increase the capacity of facilities used to address the needs of vulnerable communities in Vancouver. Downtown Eastside (DTES) Capital Grants only fund capital projects within the DTES that help implement actions from the DTES Plan. Social Policy Capital Grants fund small capital projects anywhere in Vancouver.

Supporting children, youth, and families

Vancouver families report

"Children, Youth, and Families in Vancouver" is a City report designed to help civic and community partners make service and program decisions.

Get the report

Contact us about starting a childcare centre


Location and mailing address
Development and Building Services Centre
Ground floor
515 West 10th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5Z 4A8

Monday, Wednesday, Friday
8:30am to 4:30pm

Tuesday, Thursday
8:30am to 4:00pm

Free 2-hour parking
West 10th Ave parking lot,
between Cambie and Yukon