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All Calgary dayhomes require business license, police check as of 2023

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White, Ryan
Publication Date: 
15 Sep 2022


Calgary city council has approved a motion requiring that all home-based child care providers have a business license and undergo a police background check by Jan. 1, 2023.

The move was made in response to critical incidents that have occurred in unlicensed dayhomes including the 2012 death of 22-month-old Mackenzy Woolfsmith, who died as a result of injuries she suffered while being cared for at a private home in Silverado.

The mandating of licenses aims to protect children, reduce the risk of potential injury and allow the city to respond when situations arise.

In 2021, Statistics Canada determined that 62 per cent of child care providers in Alberta were unlicensed, home-based operations, but did not provide specific numbers for Calgary.

Unlicensed child care providers may currently apply for a City of Calgary business license with the fee waived as part of the city's decision to cover the cost of all business licenses using COVID-19 pandemic recovery funding. The fee for all Calgary business licenses, not only licenses for child care operations, will continued to be waived until March 16, 2023.

In Alberta, unlicensed child care programs can provide child care for up to six children – not including the operator's own children – at any given time.