Calgary city council votes for tougher safety standards at unlicensed day homes

·1 min read
Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek speaks to reporters in this file photo. Council voted unanimously Wednesday to bring in the new safety measures for day homes.   (Mike Symington/CBC - image credit)
Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek speaks to reporters in this file photo. Council voted unanimously Wednesday to bring in the new safety measures for day homes. (Mike Symington/CBC - image credit)

City council has voted to take steps to improve safety at unlicensed day homes, which will require operators in Calgary to obtain a licence and undergo training.

Council voted unanimously Wednesday to bring in the new safety measures, which will mandate operators — and anyone living in the day home — undergo a police background check and vulnerable sector check.

They'll also be required to obtain a business licence and provide proof of first aid training. Those measures will take effect Jan. 1, 2023.

Mayor Jyoti Gondek said the measures will ensure minimum safety requirements in day homes are met.

She said the city decided to take action after years of receiving no response from the provincial government to calls for tougher safety standards in unlicensed day homes.

The move comes after a July public hearing into safety standards at unlicensed operators. Council heard from parents of children who had died or were assaulted while in childcare.

"Parents can now understand that there is a licensing process locally that ensures that there is a vetting process for these types of daycare facilities," she said.

"It just adds a little bit of security to the parents to know this is not just a fly-by-night operation, it's something that has been vetted by the city."

Gondek said the licence will cost roughly $172 a year and the police check is about $65.

Statistics Canada reported in 2021 that 62 per cent of child-care providers in Alberta were unlicensed and home-based.

City administration said babysitters and nannies would not be affected by the proposed change.