September 17, 2020
Central Saanich Council has received a report compiling a year-long study on child care needs in the region. Queenswood Consulting created an inventory of licensed child care spaces for the communities of Central Saanich, North Saanich, Sidney, Highlands, Oak Bay and Saanich; the report includes an extensive list of recommendations for Central Saanich to consider.
The municipalities received a $150,000 grant through the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) Community Child Care Planning Program to conduct the analysis, with an end goal to create a gap analysis for child care services and needs assessment by families.
“By understanding the types of childcare needs in our community, local organizations and our Council will be able to help foster the creation of new spaces,” said Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor. “The findings and action plan will be forwarded to local agencies, and we will determine next steps our municipality can take during municipal 2021 strategic planning discussions.”
Research in Central Saanich confirmed what was known anecdotally to be true, that there is a lack of adequate available child care for families who need it; it also revealed significant barriers to creating to child care spaces. These barriers include a demonstrable difficulty in finding and retaining qualified staff, access to buildings and/or land suitable for child care facilities, and development funding to support new facilities on privately-owned land.
These obstacles, compounded with the high cost of living in the region, cause significant problems for young, working families. There is a chronic shortage of day care that negatively affects quality of life, family budgets, meaningful employment, and local municipal economies.
The report received by Council in September 2020 can be read here; this report will inform actions Council could take.