24-hour daycare centres to come? City staff directed to explore options in Vancouver
A young boy plays at a daycare in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
VANCOUVER -- Parents may soon have more options when it comes to child care in Vancouver, following a vote from city council on Thursday.
Council approved a motion directing staff to explore the idea of offering round-the-clock daycare.
The motion from Coun. Melissa De Genova included a reminder that the current council has identified child care as one of its priorities.
She said increasing safe and affordable options in all neighbourhoods is "essential," especially to the city's workforce.
In her motion, she wrote that some cities in Ontario and Quebec already have 24-hour care models, and that both provincial governments provided subsidies to make it a reality.
"The high demand for extended hour child care is supported by a significant waitlist," De Genova's motion read. "For example, a 24-hour licensed child-care centre located in Barrie, Ont., opened with 70 licensed spots in 2015 and has a steady waitlist of approximately 800 children."
The councillor said many parents and caregivers of small children work shifts, with hours that can include weekends and overnight.
Some of these families are low-income, and in some cases must "make arrangements for child-care that are not ideal, stable and/or come at a greater cost than families who are supported," she said.
"The expense of childcare is greater than the expense of housing for many families with young children living in the City of Vancouver."
Current zoning, according to De Genova, does not exclude licensed child-care centres that may wish to stay open 24 hours, but there are no city guidelines addressing needs such as spaces for sleeping.
De Genova noted a 24-hour child-care facility slated to open next year in Kitimat has been promised funding from Victoria.
Her motion, which was approved during this week's council meeting, directed staff to investigate the possibility of similar facilities in Vancouver.
Staff were asked to look into whether there's enough interest from stakeholders, and if there would be a possibility of provincial funding.
They've also been asked to look at the existing requirements for licensed child-care centres in B.C., to determine whether they could be supplemented with considerations involved in a 24-hour model.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Nafeesa Karim