Opening a day care in British Columbia doesn't require a license. If you don't apply for and receive a license, however, there's a sharp limit on how many children you can take in each day. There are several different types of British Columbia day cares. The breakdown and the rules are available on the province's website.
British Columbia day care breaks down into four categories:
- Licensed child care. These programs have to meet province requirements for health and safety, staff training, record keeping, child-to-staff ratios and other standards. They undergo regular monitoring and inspection.
- Registered but unlicensed. These facilities register with a BC Child Care and Resource Referral Center. They don't have to meet the licensing standards, but they can only oversee two kids at a time or a single group of siblings. Like licensed child care, they can get state help with training and resources.
- An unlicensed day care has even fewer regulations. There's no required level of staff training, for instance. They have the same numerical limit as registered day cares, and they can't get referrals through a center. Many parents, however, use Facebook to hunt for hard-to-find day care spaces.
- In-home child care is when parents hire a nanny or babysitter to work in their home, taking care of only their kids. No unrelated children can be included.
Before opening a day care in BC, have everything set up so you can meet the requirements. With an unlicensed, unregistered day care, you don't have standards to meet other than the number of kids. With a registered day care, it's more tough.
- Everyone in your home over age 12 has to complete a criminal background check.
- You'll have to provide the province with character references.
- You have to complete child-care training courses and first-aid training.
- You need to complete a home-safety assessment.
For a licensed BC day care, you need to settle on your client base. BC offers several options, including kids under age 3, school-age children and multi-age child care. Each classification has its own rules for how many kids you can serve, their ages, the child-to-staff ratio and the staff qualifications.
For one example, group child care for kids under age 3 allows up to 12 children cared for at a center or community-based facility. For one to four kids, you need a certified infant toddler educator on staff, and you'll need more staff as the number grows. An infant toddler educator requires around 1,300 hours of training.
Your facility will undergo inspection before you can get a license. The inspection will check, for example, that you don't have anything around your day care that could be hazardous to children. Your staff will also be inspected to ensure they're qualified and don't have any problems on their background checks.
Before you submit a BC child care licensing application, get all your ducks in a row. Opening a day care in BC requires you to find qualified staff, check their backgrounds, complete any qualifications you need for yourself and find a suitable space. You'll also have to check with your local government about zoning, business licensing and other requirements.
You can find the license application online at the province's website. BC will want plenty of information, including:
- Detailed descriptions of your day care programs.
- The building site plan and floor plan.
- The number of employees, their qualifications and their duties.
- The projected monthly budget.
- References and criminal background checks.
Child-care services will inspect your proposed facility, review your policies and procedures and assess whether you'll be a good day care provider. If everything checks out, you'll be able to open.