Massive Child Care Space Surplus in British Columbia



December 5, 2017

Yesterday, the British Columbia government announced $33 million for the creation of 3,800 new child care spaces, yet the government’s own documents show there is actually a surplus of child care spaces in the province. The B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development notes in its own report that “efficient use of child care spaces will be reflected in high utilization rates,” which the government defines at 80-85% use. But a new report by think tank Cardus uses the government’s own documents to show that no part of the province has that level of child care utilization. In fact, on average, almost one in three child care spaces lies vacant every month province-wide. Andrea Mrozek, family program director at Cardus, and Helen Ward, president of Kids First Parents Association, have co-authored Daycare Vacancy Rates in British Columbia: The Untold Story. It finds the biggest child care surplus is in the Kootenays, with an average monthly vacancy of 45%. While smallest surplus is in Vancouver and Richmond, the vacancy rate there is still almost 25%.

“The provincial government’s own numbers show a shortage of demand for child care spaces, not a shortage of supply,” said Mrozek. “By their own estimation, this shows a lack of efficiency. Creating more spaces won’t make anything more efficient, nor does it serve parents and families well, given the current vacancies.”

Provincial government documents also indicate the cost of child care spaces is not what is keeping parents from using them. The B.C. government budgeted $119 million for that purpose in 2016/2017, but only used $105 million, which amounts to a surplus of $14 million.

“Child care doesn’t happen only in daycares or other centres,” said Ward. “It happens wherever parents make the financial sacrifice to do the work of caring for their children. When governments preferentially fund centre-based care, it leaves out the majority who don’t use that system.”

Read Daycare Vacancy Rates in British Columbia: The Untold Story here.

To arrange for interviews with Andrea Mrozek or Helen Ward, please, contact Daniel Proussalidis.

Daniel Proussalidis
Cardus - Director of Communications


Cardus is a non-partisan think tank dedicated to clarifying and strengthening, through research and dialogue, the ways in which society's institutions can work together for the common good.

Topics: Family, Daycare