Smithers Child Care Plan
The Town of Smithers recognizes that access to quality child care is an essential service and critical piece of social infrastructure. It benefits families, local economy, contributes to a healthy community and overall resident quality of life. The Smithers Child Care Plan, completed in 2021, is a guiding document for the Town of Smithers to use to fulfill its role in addressing child care gaps and support new space creation.
How We’re Taking Action
The Town is working to implement the 13 actions in the Child Care Plan that are organized around three strategic areas:
Achievements to-date include:
- Updated the Town of Smithers Zoning Bylaw in 2022 by simplifying land use regulations related to child care and expanding land uses where child care can be located and/or co-located.
- Updated the Town of Smithers Official Community Plan in 2022 by including policies that recognize the need for child care and supports new child care spaces in a broader range of land use designations.
- Successfully applied for funding from NDIT for a Child Care Implementation Project, to continue to put into action other recommendations from the Plan.
- Completed a 2023 Child Care Inventory & Space Update.
- Completed a Town Staff Focus Group to explore opportunities for new child care spaces.
- Hosted a Strategy Session with community partners on May 17.
- Completed a Project Update Report (LINKED HERE) for Smithers Council review and discussion on June 6 (LINK TO AGENDA).
The Town recognized that addressing child care needs is complex, and many of the challenges identified in Smithers are experienced province wide. As such, participation and collaboration of local community partners is an essential part of the Child Care Plan Implementation Project. Examples of areas to be explored in 2023 include:
- Identify possible locations and operators for a new child care centre, with a focus on increasing infant/toddler spaces, that aligns with available grant funding.
- Create a Town of Smithers incentive program that supports existing child care businesses and encourages new child care spaces.
- Support local organizations in advocating for larger child care challenges, such as ECE training and work force shortages.
Are you a child care provider, non-profit or local organization interested in helping us with strategic implementation of the Smithers Child Care Plan? If so, we want to hear from you! Please contact the Town office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (250) 847-1600.
Space Creation Capital Funding Resources:
With an abundance of provincial grant funding available, now is a great time to get involved.
- Child Care Start Up Grants
- ChildCareBC New Spaces Fund (Primary Stream)
- ChildCareBC New Spaces Fund (School Age Care on School Grounds Stream)
- ChildCareBC Maintenance Fund
- ChildCareBC Plan
- Northern Development Initiative Trust - Northern Healthy Communities Fund
- WorkBC - Community Workforce Response Grant (training opportunities)
For more information on the ChildcareBC New Spaces Fund or other provincial funding opportunities, please contact: Michelle Kirby, Manager of Partnerships & Engagement, Ministry of Education & Child Care at Michelle.Kirby@gov.bc.ca.
For updated child care information in Smithers, contact the Smithers & Area Child Care Resources & Referral Program at 250-847-8824