children playing

Region of Waterloo looking for new spaces for child-care

Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version
Sandstrom, Alison
Publication Date: 
6 Feb 2024


On the heels of a decision to look for regionally-owned lands and buildings that could be used for housing, the Region of Waterloo is now also exploring whether any could be repurposed for new child-care centres.

At a committee meeting Tuesday, councillors approved a recommendation from staff to consider using regionally owned buildings, lands and housing developments to create more non-profit child-care spaces.

9,200 kids on region’s child-care waitlist

The region currently has child-care spaces for only 32 per cent of kids under four years old – 9,200 children are waitlisted, according to a staff report.

The region’s director of children’s services, Barb Cardow said the waitlist has grown by 115 per cent since the announcement of $10-a-day child-care in 2022.

Under the $10-a-day agreement, the region has a target to create 3,725 new licenced child-care spaces by 2026. That would provide coverage for 37 per cent of children.

Lack of land major barrier

“It seems that besides the workforce, a significant barrier is accessing land – affordable, appropriate land or buildings – that are suitable for licenced childcare,” she said.

Child-care spaces could be created through renovating existing buildings or exploring modular/portable-based structures, the staff report said.