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Burnaby is falling short of its childcare targets: report

New measures to increase the number of childcare spots might include having developers build facilities instead of paying cash contributions.
child care classroom
Burnaby is behind on its goal to create 440 new childcare spaces per year.

Burnaby is not meeting its goals for childcare, according to a new city report.

The city’s childcare action plan aims to create 4,412 new childcare spaces by 2030, or 440 new spaces a year.

But in the last year, only 210 new spaces were created, as a report presented to Burnaby’s social planning committee showed.

While the number is higher than the average from 2015-2020 of 136 new spaces per year, it’s less than half of the action plan’s goal.

“Ideally, we’re aiming for 440 spaces a year,” said Burnaby social planner Margaret Manifold while presenting the committee report. “And so, 210 [spaces] is frankly not enough to meet our growing population.”

From 2020 to 2021, seven new childcare centres opened, with an average of 30 spaces each. In order to reach Burnaby’s goal, 15 centres would need to open.

There’s a particular need for childcare for children under three, especially in northwest Burnaby, and for school-age children in the northwest and southeast of the city.

City staff are hoping to improve these numbers.

Burnaby’s childcare action plan seeks to change the policy regarding community benefits supplied by developers: instead of developers providing cash contributions to childcare facilities, they could be required to build new, smaller centres in their new developments.

In her presentation to the committee, Manifold said she likes the idea of developers incorporating childcare in their buildings, as it would mean people have the service close to home.

The action plan also hopes to pursue new childcare spaces in future development proposals led by the city, as well as new non-market housing developments.

Examples of that type of childcare space include the upcoming centre in Stride Avenue Park, run by Burnaby Neighbourhood House, and the facility in the Christine Sinclair Community Centre.

The report also recommends a new staff position dedicated to childcare policy be added to the 2023 city budget.