Childcare Licensing Regulation Amendments and CampsBronco Cathcart
In July 2016, BC Childcare Licensing introduced amendments to its Regulations that impact summer camps as well as day camps that operate outside of the summer season. These amendments were made to:
1. Help parents better recognize licensed community care facilities
2. Provide more flexibility and choice for parents by addressing the ages and qualifications for children attending camp programs
3. Provide distinction between summer camps and other types of day camp programs
Since 2007, the Childcare Licensing Regulation has exempted summer and day camps from licensing provided that children and camps met certain parameters. Those parameters have been eased somewhat to allow younger children to attend camp programs.
According to a Ministry spokesperson, the Ministry was interested in separating regulations for summer camp from those for day camps operating in other out-of-school periods during the course of the year. They also wanted to ensure that younger children in school or kindergarten were able to attend programs with their marginally older peer group.
A Ministry FAQ states that:
1. A child may now attend unlicensed summer camp the summer (July/August) before they start their grade 1 school year.
The age of children was changed to 6 years or older on or before December 31. Summer camps operate for no more than 13 weeks during the months of June through September. (Note that this FAQ states two different periods that qualify as summer camp – July/August and June through September. However the regulations themselves state June through September.)
2. A child may now attend unlicensed day camps once they have started their kindergarten school year.
Children must be enrolled/attend a school (including home schooling). The age of children was changed to 5 years or older on or before December 31. Day camps operate only during the months of September to June and only on days of school closure.
The Ministry’s FAQ provides these examples:
Can a child who is 4 and attending Kindergarten go to a Pro-d day camp or Winter Break camp?
Yes, as long as the child will be 5 on or before December 31.
Can a child who will start Kindergarten in September, go to unlicensed summer camp in July/August before the school year starts?
No. Children must first complete their Kindergarten year in order to attend an unlicensed summer camp. (Note that according to the Ministry, the age of the child, as stated in the regulations, would take precedence over the actual completion of kindergarten.)
In summary, the Ministry has acted in a progressive manner to address licensing issues affecting younger children and camps, providing opportunity for younger children to attend camp programs - a win for kids, families and camping.