Provincial and Federal governments invest in increased wages for early childhood educators

Herald File Photo

The Governments of Saskatchewan and Canada announced on Thursday that they are investing $5.4 million to provide up to $2 an hour increase for Early Childhood Educators (ECEs).

This is in recognition of the important services they provide in supporting families who require child care. Education Minister Dustin Duncan said the investment will assist child care centres in providing improved wages in the recruitment and retention of ECEs.

“Early Childhood Educators provide our youngest learners with quality early learning and the building blocks they need to prepare them for school,” Duncan said in a press release. “This investment helps recognize the hard work these professionals do every day while creating an incentive for new individuals to begin a career as a certified Early Childhood Educator.”

This Wage Enhancement Grant will be funded through the Canada-Saskatchewan Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, which also supports future ECEs with free post-secondary training, professional development opportunities and many other programs. These all align with the joint federal and provincial commitment to improving quality in the early learning and child care sector and attracting, retaining and growing a strong and skilled workforce of Early Childhood Educators.

“Early Childhood Educators are at the very heart of the Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care system, “Canada’s Minister for Families, Children and Social Development, Karina Gould said. “Today’s announcement in Saskatchewan is another meaningful step toward ensuring the work of these professional educators is valued throughout their lifelong career.”

Gould said certified ECEs understand child development and have the knowledge and skills to deliver a program that meets the needs of individual children and supports their development and building of strong relationships.

The investment in wage increases help address the compensation necessities for ECEs. This increase is a step toward the development of the wage grid for ECEs, which the Government of Saskatchewan will implement by the end of 2022-23. Saskatchewan child care centres can expect to receive more information on the ECE wage increase during the last week of September.

“This announcement is a wonderful step to help stabilize the Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) workforce during these challenging times,” Saskatchewan Early Childhood Association (SECA) Executive Director Georgia Lavallee said.

“Early Childhood Educators are the heart of ELCC and we look forward to continued support and investments into the workforce.”

Providing grants for Early Childhood Educators is just one part of a larger initiative by the Governments of Saskatchewan and Canada to implement a Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care System. The Canada-Saskatchewan Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, signed just over a year ago, provides a federal investment of nearly $1.1 billion over five years for regulated early learning and child care programs and services for children under the age of six in Saskatchewan.

With on average 70 per cent child care fee reductions already announced in the province, the goal is to bring down average fees for regulated child care to $10-a-day by the end of March 2026.