British Columbia

City of North Vancouver looks at offering childcare during council meetings

North Vancouver city council unanimously passed a motion this week asking staff to look into offering childcare while meetings are underway.

Councillor who introduced motion says the aim is to increase inclusivity and engagement

If it goes through, North Vancouver will be one of the first municipalities in B.C. to offer childcare services during meetings. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

The City of North Vancouver is considering offering child-minding services to make it easier for parents to attend council meetings.

Council unanimously passed a motion this week asking staff to look into offering childcare while the meetings are underway.

"We don't see a lot of parents coming in and bringing their children to attend the regular meeting and we have heard that [finding childcare services] is a barrier to some," said Jessica McIlroy, the councillor who introduced the motion.

Providing childcare during council meetings is part of a bigger goal of improving inclusivity in municipal affairs and local government, said McIlroy, as well as removing barriers to access.

As a starting point, the hope is to have a space on site that would be available for the duration of the meetings, which start at 6 p.m. on Mondays and run for a few hours.

"[It comes from] wanting to ensure that our community members have the opportunity to engage in civic government and local government as much as they want to," McIlroy told CBC's On The Coast.

"As well as ensuring that those who choose to become involved as a politician and run for an elected office also have those same opportunities."

Council staff is currently looking into the feasibility and cost of providing the service and a report is expected to be ready to vote on by early fall.

If it goes through, North Vancouver will be one of the few municipalities offering childcare services during meetings.

"We all have different issues that we're looking at and different challenges at every stage in our lives," McIlroy said.

"It's very important that we have representation and input from all of those stages and not just when it comes to voting."

With files from On The Coast

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