In March 2019, the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) and the Province provided a grant of $24,840 to the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) to conduct a child care needs assessment and develop a community child care space creation action plan.
On August 18, 2020, Council received the final report for the Whistler Child Care Planning Project through Information Report No. 20-073. The final report is the outcome of the project that was conducted by municipal staff with the Whistler Centre for Sustainability between June 2019 and March 2020. The report includes a preliminary action plan that will help guide community partners and the RMOW to meet licensed space creation targets and improve access to child care services within the community.
The overall purpose of the Whistler Child Care Planning Project was to gain a better understanding of current and future child care needs for children aged 0 to 12 years in Whistler. Under UBCM’s Community Child Care Planning Program, funded projects must collect information regarding the child care needs of the community, create an inventory of existing child care spaces, identify space creation targets over the next 10 years, and identify actions that can be taken to meet those space creation targets.
The final report for the Whistler Child Care Planning Project presents information about Whistler’s current child care space inventory and availability, and parents’ needs and satisfaction with current child care availability in Whistler as expressed through the parent and provider surveys. It then includes an assessment of existing provincial and local RMOW policies and resources that influence the provision of child care in Whistler. Afterwards, the report presents population growth scenarios and space creation targets for the next five and 10 years. Finally, the report presents a preliminary action plan for further consideration and implementation for the delivery of child care in Whistler. These actions focus on addressing the key issues and needs identified through the planning process, as well as the projected child care needs of the community.
Community engagement and consultation
Community engagement and consultation was an important element of the Whistler Child Care Planning Project. The project included surveys of Whistler parents and child care providers, and three stakeholder workshops.
An online voluntary survey of parents was developed and then promoted from September 25 to October 20, 2019. It was aimed at parents and guardians with children under 13 years of age, with the intent being to better understand the types of child care Whistler families use, their needs and access to child care, child care challenges, and their preferred child care scenario moving forward. Summary results are included throughout the final report and the complete survey results are attached to the final report as Appendix “A”.
An online voluntary survey of child care providers was promoted between September 25 and October 20, 2019. It was aimed at current child care providers or those considering offering child care. The intent was to better understand the types of child care offered (or being considered), child care capacity, staffing and facility type considerations as well as operational dates and times. Summary results are included throughout the final report as relevant and the complete results are attached to the final report as Appendix “B”.
A meeting with a group of Whistler child care providers was held in September 2019. The purpose of the meeting was to present an overview of the Whistler Child Care Planning Project and gather feedback on the parent and provider survey objectives and some of the draft survey questions. In February 2020, two stakeholder workshops with child care providers and key Whistler organizations and representatives were held to inform the target setting and action planning aspects of this project.
On January 4, 2019, Council received a letter from the Honourable Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development and the Honourable Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care announcing a provincial partnership with UBCM to provide funding for the creation of child care space and for community child care planning. On January 22, 2019, Council passed a resolution directing staff to make an application to the Community Child Care Planning Program.
The RMOW was successful in obtaining the grant. On June 25, 2019, Council received Information Report No. 19-080, which informed Council of the UBCM grant funding and provided an outline of the Whistler Child Care Planning Project and its work plan. The RMOW and the Whistler Centre for Sustainability subsequently embarked on the project.
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