top of page

Growing AHS in British Columbia 2023

Capital Funding Opportunity

Funding for Growing AHS in BC is available to support Capital costs for the creation of new licensed AHS child care spaces in urban (off-reserve) communities by March 31, 2026. 


The Governments of BC and Canada, under the ChildCareBC plan and the Canada-Wide Early Learning Child Care are (CW-ELCC) agreement, support the Aboriginal Head Start expansion in BC.


Growing AHS in your community is intended to provide new licensed off-reserve child care spaces that are offered to Indigenous families at no cost, support children

with extra support needs, and commit to providing a respectful working wage for the Early Childhood profession.


The Growing AHS initiative is helping to ensure quality, accessible, inclusive, and affordable child care is available to Indigenous families throughout BC.  Funding

for Growing AHS in BC is available to support Capital costs for the creation of new licensed AHS child care spaces in urban (off-reserve) communities by March 31, 2026.

AHS Village Icons - longhouse.png
AHS Village Icon - tipi.png
AHS Village Icons - igloo.png
About AHS

About Aboriginal Head Start

AHS programs are Indigenous-led, no-fee early learning and child care programs that support Indigenous children up to six years of age and their families.

AHS programs incorporate six main program components and three foundational components:

  • Culture and language

  • Education and school readiness

  • Health promotion

  • Nutrition

  • Parent and family involvement

  • Social support

  • AHS Beliefs and Values​

  • Accountability and Management​

  • Leadership and Staffing


These culturally based child care programs also include wrap-around services for Indigenous families and enhanced staffing to support inclusion and family supports. 


Funding Opportunity

Funding for Growing AHS in BC is available to support Capital costs for
the creation of new licensed AHS child care spaces in urban (off-reserve) communities by March 31, 2026. 

Funding will be considered for:

  • Planning and project management services.

  • Construction of a new child care facility.

  • The purchase of commercial land and/or commercial or residential buildings for use as a child care facility.

  • The purchasing, assembly, and installation of a modular or portable building for use as a child care facility.

  • Site development costs of land for use as a child care facility.

  • Renovation of an existing building, space, or classroom for use as a child care facility.

  • Purchase of equipment or other capital costs related to obtaining a license to operate a child care facility.

elders Nov 2012 193_edited.jpg
AHS Growth

Need for AHS Growth

NID - bbw with 4 yr olds.jpg

The addition of new AHS licenced child care facilities will help meet a growing need and address a gap in Indigenous-led child care in BC. The Indigenous population is the fastest growing population in Canada, growing by 42.5% — more than four times faster than the rest of the population — between 2006 and 2018

(StatCan 150 Census). 


There are over 232,000 Indigenous people in BC, approximately 67% of whom live off-reserve in urban areas. Over the next seven years, the number of Indigenous children aged 0-5 years is expected to grow from approximately 28,900 to 31,600 in BC. This means an additional 2,700 Indigenous-led spaces will be needed to support this population growth across our province.  

The government of BC and Canada's investment to support Indigenous communities with capital funds responds to the need for growth of AHS in BC. AHSABC’s role in this initiative is to provide the Expansion of AHS plan and lead the Implementation Proposal process where AHS programs are needed most with eligible Indigenous not-for-profit organizations. Once the new AHS communities are determined AHSABC will work closely with them through their capital planning, to building of their new AHS Child Care Services.


AHSABC will provide ongoing support to new AHS communities through all stages of development and delivery of programs.




Growing AHS in BC will provide improved access to an affordable, accessible, and high-quality child care model at no-fee for families.

  • Create an estimated 135 new Indigenous licensed child care spaces in BC that provide improved access to an affordable, accessible, high-quality child care model at no-fee for families.

  • Improved access to community-designed and delivered child care services.

  • Wrap-around services for Indigenous families (e.g. parent education and linkages to early intervention and prevention services) in support of the Province of BC’s commitment to family preservation.

  • Positive measures concerning the social determinants of health through the delivery of quality early learning holistic child care.

  • Action to address Truth and Reconciliation Commission call to action #5 (“call upon the federal, provincial, territorial, and Aboriginal governments to develop culturally appropriate parenting programs for Aboriginal families”); and an opportunity under the Early Learning and Child Care Framework (Canada-BC Agreement).




Step 1: 

Review AHS Principles and Guidelines, and click the Expression of Interest form to connect with AHSABC.

Step 2:

AHSABC will reach out to confirm eligibility and share a Growing AHS

Capital  Funding Application. The deadline to submit the application is February 28, 2023.

Step 3: 

AHSABC and AHS Elders Advisory Circle will review all applications between March 1 – March 10, 2023 and prioritize projects based on the Growing AHS Evaluation Criteria. 

Step 4: 

AHSABC will notify successful applicants by March 24, 2023 and invite them to plan and submit an Implementation Proposal.


Step 5: 

Successful applicants work through Implementation Proposal and submit the final proposal by June 15, 2023. 

Step 6: 

AHSABC and Applicant go into a Contribution Agreement by July 31, 2023.

Step 7:  

The organization will complete the capital project by March 31, 2026, and be prepared to license the new AHS child care facility.   


Eligibility Guidelines

Eligible Organizations:

  • Indigenous not-for-profit organizations

  • Organizations who support the AHS Principles and Guidelines,

  • Organizations in communities that DO NOT have AHS full-day child care programming and have a need.

Eligible Organizations must:

  • Be in good standing with the BC Corporate Registry.

  • Demonstrate strong administrative practices and financial position.

  • Support the AHS program model and AHS Principles and Guidelines as an ideal fit for the proposed urban community.

  • Provide evidence of a need in the community for AHS Child Care Services.

  • Demonstrate strong community partnerships, collaboration, successful community service delivery, and a positive reputation within the community.

  • Demonstrate the capacity and will to support Early Learning and Child Care Principles of Accessibility, Affordability, Quality, and Valued Workforce.

  • Demonstrate geographic location is currently under-serviced / has limited Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care services.

Young Indigenous girl with other children in the background

Expression of Interest

Are you interested in learning more, and exploring eligibility for the Growing AHS in BC Capital Creating Funding Opportunity?

Supporting Documents

Learn More

For more information, or to set up a meeting with our team contact:

Tammy Aguilera

Director of Programming

bottom of page