Are you interested in opening a childcare centre in Vancouver?
We are committed to providing affordable, quality, and inclusive childcare options for all families in our city.
Vancouver’s childcare design guidelines are intended to help you plan a safe, healthy, and operationally efficient group childcare center for children 0 to 5 years old. We based the guidelines on research in childcare design, and experience of what works for children, families, and operators.
Get started by reviewing the Childcare Design Guidelines PDF file (321 KB)
Changing an existing childcare facility
After a facility is completed, each program also needs a childcare license issued by Vancouver Coastal Health that assesses health and safety and determines the maximum number of spaces, based on mandatory performance criteria set out in the BC Child Care Licensing Regulation External website, opens in new tab and standards External website, opens in new tab.
The guidelines are not strict regulations, but outline principles, standards, and practices to guide you through the planning and permitting process, from initial design to occupancy permit. Meeting the intent of the childcare design guidelines in the development permit process will also help prepare you to meet the requirements for Provincial Childcare Licensing approval.
Steps for establishing a childcare centre
Important note All new childcare centres and changes to existing childcare centres require community care facilities licensing (CCFL) approval before we review an enquiry. If you don't have this clearance, you will need to contact Vancouver Coastal Health External website, opens in new tab .
Step 1: Review the requirements of a childcare facility
Step 2. Contact our Social Policy and Projects Division
Step 3. Assess project feasibility
Step 4. Develop a preliminary design
Step 5. Apply for a development permit
Step 6. Finalize the facility’s design
Step 7. Apply for a building permit
Step 8. Building the childcare centre
Step 9. Apply for an occupancy permit
Step 10: Fire department approval
Step 11. Receive a licence to operate the childcare centre
Social Policy and Projects
Development and Building Services Centre
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