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Access to quality, licensed childcare and early learning improves health outcomes for children throughout their lives and helps to equalize outcomes among all children regardless of race, ethnicity, household income, or neighbourhood. It enables families to live in the city, and is critical to a thriving, healthy and stable economy by allowing parents to participate fully in the workforce. As a key determinant of female labour force participation, access to affordable and quality childcare is essential to achieving gender equality.

Directions and Policies

Direction 6.1: Universal Childcare

Expand, support and retain not-for-profit operated childcare spaces alongside planning for housing and jobs, as part of complete neighbourhoods.

Childcare is an important element of complete neighbourhoods and thriving economies. A universal childcare system requires key partnerships to enable the expansion of not-for-profit operated childcare spaces. Identifying opportunities for childcare infrastructure delivery requires thoughtful consideration around location, space requirements and design features. This will ensure safe and accessible spaces that help children thrive.


6.1.1 Align rate of childcare infrastructure development with growth of housing, schools, and job spaces.
6.1.2 Integrate childcare in all suitable areas of the city, prioritizing investments and incentives that would have the greatest impact on equity (e.g., target investments in areas where there is a greater population of low-income families, or underserved employment areas).
6.1.3 Plan for a diversity of childcare facility types on a variety of sites (e.g., district childcare hubs close to, or co-located with, elementary schools and other social infrastructure).
6.1.4 Apply incentives and/or requirements to deliver and secure not-for-profit operated childcare in both City-owned and non City-owned facilities, including alignment with large sites, housing and employment developments.
6.1.5 Ensure all facilities are designed, located and built to support healthy child development. Integrate Indigenous perspectives into planning and design for childcare services.