Media Contacts

Jen Holmwood

Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier
250 818-4881

Ministry of Health

250 952-1887 (media line)

Ministry of Children and Family Development

Government Communications and Public Engagement
250 953-4432 / 250 812-3429


Licensed and unlicensed child care in British Columbia

Licensed child care

Licensed child-care programs provide care for three or more children. In B.C., licensed child care is regulated, which means it’s regularly monitored and inspected by local health authorities in order to ensure health and safety requirements are being met. 

There are different kinds of licensed child-care programs:

  • Group child care: Serves children from birth to 36 months, and children from 30 months to school entry.
  • Group child care (school age): Serves school-age children, including kindergarten, who require care outside of normal school hours.
  • Multi-age child care: Similar to group child care, but serves children from birth to age 12.
  • Preschools: Serve children from 30 months to school entry. Preschools are part-day programs, typically operating on the school year, from September to June.
  • Family child care: Offered in the child-care provider’s own home, and serves a maximum of seven children from birth to age 12.
  • In-home multi-age child care: Offered in the early childhood educator’s own home, and serves a maximum of eight children from birth to age 12.
  • Occasional child care: For part-time or occasional care only, available for children who are at least 18 months old. Care is for a maximum of eight hours a day and no more than 40 hours per calendar month.

Unlicensed child care

Unlicensed child-care providers, also known as licence-not-required providers, may care for only two children or a sibling group, as well as their own children. If they care for more children than this, they may be operating illegally.

There are several kinds of unlicensed child-care providers:

  • Registered licence-not-required: These providers are registered with a child-care resource and referral centre. The registration process includes criminal record checks, references, a health-and-safety home inspection, and first aid. Registered care providers have access to support, training, resources and group liability insurance.
  • Licence-not-required care: These providers are not required to meet any standards for health or safety. They are not monitored or inspected.
  • In-own-home care: Parents may choose to arrange for someone (e.g., nanny or au pair) to look after their child in their own home. They are responsible for screening and hiring the provider.