Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

New Victoria business offers companies opportunity to outsource daycare

Kids & Company opens 100 spots at Uptown

Corporations already outsource support, service and sales, but a new player in the Victoria daycare world will soon offer companies a chance to outsource child care for their employees.

Toronto-based Kids & Company is poised to open a 10,000-square-foot daycare at Uptown this month, offering both full-time and "flexible" care to clients' employees. Between 10 and 15 per cent of the space will be reserved for flexible or drop-in care, available to both corporate clients' employees and the public, including Uptown shoppers.

The space will also include a large outdoor rooftop play area.

Such companies as Royal Bank and Bank of Montreal will pay $5,000 annually to guarantee spaces at the daycare for employees, who then pony up between $50 and $70 per day for each child, with the higher cost for younger children.

"We are an attractionretention benefit for employers," said Kids & Company CEO Victoria Sopik. "Most employers don't want to open up their own child-care facilities, but ask any employee and what they'll tell you is they want child care provided."

There are 100 child-care spots at the Uptown location, and only 20 per cent are reserved so far.

"People don't like to spend money somewhere when they haven't seen [the space]," Sopik said. An open house is set for Wednesday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The company hopes to have licences and approvals in place to start admitting in the third week of October.

The large daycare operation is moving to Victoria at a time when there is little need for new spaces for some age groups.

Belinda Macey, co-ordinator with Victoria Child Care Resource and Referral, said there is currently an oversupply of spaces for kids ages three to five. "We are well served at the present time," Macey said

According to the Vancouver Island Health Authority, which licenses daycare centres, there are 581 licensed daycare facilities in the Capital Regional District. Of those, about seven per cent offer group care for kids under 36 months, while about 16 per cent offer group care for kids between 30 months and school age. Many of the balance are in family homes.

Macey noted, however, that there is always a need for quality infant and toddler care. "That's been continuous since the mid-1990s - baby spaces are hard to come by. There are waiting lists," she said, adding there are wait lists for quality spaces in all categories.

Macey said she is heartened to hear Kids and Co. will have spaces for infants and toddlers, but could not weigh in on what kind of impact it would have, since she has yet to see how the facility is divided.

"There is a limit on the number of infant and toddler spaces they can have - they can't have 85 [of them]," she said.

Sopik said Kids & Company, which offers care for kids under a year and up to 12, sets aside most of its space for babies and toddlers, which is where she said the "real need is."

The company, which is now 10 years old, has 44 locations in Canada.

Its prices are higher when compared with typical rates in the area. Victoria Child Care Resource and Referral says the average cost for daycare in the capital region ranges from $750 to $1060 monthly.

Sopik said the company's niche tends to be helping companies get their employees back faster from maternity leave. "They want to come back to work, but often what slows them down is not having the right kind of child care available," she said.

Uptown general manager Roberta Ferguson said Kids & Company fills a growing need in a centre that aims to be more than a shopping destination.

"We want to be a community destination that is family-friendly and having this kind of mix of tenancy is really needed in the area," she said. "They also offer weekend child care. This is something the community has been looking for."

The only concern Macey voiced about the "big box" daycare operation was over the sheer number of kids it intends to support. "Traditionally, we are concerned about large volumes of children being in settings," she said, adding she also wants to see how it is configured to get children outside and engaged in nature.

The company offers a variety of educational programs at its child-care centres, including music, French, sign language for infants as well as meals.

The space at Uptown will also be equipped with cameras, allowing parents to check in on their kids via smartphone through a secure application.

Sopik said the company had been looking at the Victoria market for five years, but had trouble finding something suitable.