A new report surveying six communities in Greater Victoria finds a “chronic shortage” of daycare spaces. (Black Press Media File)

New report finds ‘chronic’ shortage of daycare spaces across Greater Victoria

Just 52 per cent of demand is being met in the best of the six communities surveyed

A report surveying child care in six Greater Victoria communities confirms what many parents will likely have already known: it is difficult to find affordable child care that is also flexible and of high quality.

The report by Queenswood Consulting Group surveyed available childcare services for six communities: the three Saanich Peninsula communities (Central Saanich, North Saanich and Sidney) plus Saanich, Oak Bay, and Highlands.

The six communities accounting for 45 per cent of families with children under 12 years old living in the Capital Regional District (CRD) had earlier secured a $150,000 grant from the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) through the provincial government to catalogue any gaps with an eye toward develop an action plan.

RELATED: Province announces support for creation of more than 300 childcare spaces in Nanaimo

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“A chronic shortage of daycare is causing significant problems for families with young children – impacting the quality of life, family budgets, and our municipal economies,” reads the introduction of the report detailing the situation in North Saanich, a line that also appears in the Central Saanich version of the report.

Sidney councillors meeting as committee-of-the-whole are set to receive the report Monday.

A global overview shows that Sidney as a community has done the best when it comes to meeting demand, having met 52 per cent of demand and short some 233 spaces. Saanich, Greater Victoria’s largest municipality, follows Sidney in terms of demand met with 50 per cent and short some 2,935 spaces. Oak Bay follows with 47 per cent demand met and 515 spaces short, followed by North Saanich with 44 per cent met and 276 spaces short. Central Saanich met 35 per cent (45 per cent depending on the chosen definition) of demand, leaving it short of up to 651 spaces. The report did not give a figure for unmet demand in the Highlands, adding no additional spaces are necessary to meet demand.

By way of background, the report draws on four central sources: background research, consultation with child care providers, interviews with community partner organizations, and consultation with families.

Researchers calculated the estimated child care need by subtracting the number of licensed spaces and the number of children aged 0 to 12 from the global number of children aged 0 to 12 living in the chosen communities.

Researchers also included recommendations for the respective communities.

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wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

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