Home Sections Children & Childcare Child care educators get wage boost & bonuses

Child care educators get wage boost & bonuses

Sweetening the pot for Early Childhood Educators in BC.

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Higher wages and new grants for eligible early childhood educators. [BC Govt - Oct 30, 2023]

Monday October 30, 2023 | SAANICH, BC [Updated 4:55 pm]

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

A boost for early childhood educators today! And by default, also families and the economy.

Federal Minister of Children, Families and Social Development Jenna Sudds together with BC Minister of State for Child Care Grace Lore, and other dignitaries, made a funding-based announcement at Camosun College, toward support for recruiting and retaining early childhood educators.

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Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Jenna Sudds with Grace Lore, B.C. Minister of State for Child Care, touring early childhood education at Camosun College, Oct 30, 2023. [BC Govt]

Financial boost:

Early childhood educators (ECEs) will receive another hourly raise, starting on Jan. 1, 2024, to support the essential work they do to educate and care for young children.

New annual grants recognizing ECEs with specialized training will be available in the new year.

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Local MLA for Saanich South, Lana Popham at the podium accompanied by federal child care minister Jenna Sudds (left) and BC Minister of State for Child Care Grace Lore, Oct 30, 2023 at Camosun Colleage. [BC Govt photo]

Eligible ECEs working at participating licensed child care facilities will receive a $2-per-hour raise in January 2024, based on hours worked in December 2023, on top of the existing $4-per-hour raise. This government-funded raise is the most recent in a series of increases to the ECE Wage Enhancement, bringing the total raise to $6 per hour and increasing the median wage for ECEs up to approximately $28 per hour.

The province is aiming to “get child care to every corner of this province,” said Lore. “We’re talking about spaces but also the educators who do this work… and recognizing specialized credentials.” She pointed out that families are saving up to $900 per month.

This is a significant deepening of the integration of families into the economy. And as one speaker said today, the bedrock of child care services allows others to participate in the workforce as well. That would be particularly true for women who work and want to get ahead in their careers.

Lore said that the government is working to keep (private) facilities open and operational as the dynamics around ECE change.

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NDP philosophy:

‘She who rocks the cradle rules the world’ is an old saying. This NDP government is putting their philosophy for supporting people and families — and women in that mix — at the forefront with this announcement today.

For several years now, the NDP government has been careful to loop in the valid mention of how child care services support a viable economy. Arguably, the business sector was slow to warm up to that idea until the Horgan government took the reins in 2017, now carried forward under David Eby as premier.

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Bigger ministry picture:

In 2018, as part of ChildCareBC, government launched an ECE recruitment and retention strategy to help ensure a sufficient number of qualified ECEs in the province.

As of 2022, child care has been delivered under the responsibilities of the Ministry of Education and Child Care led by ECC Minister Rachna Singh.

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That was an NDP ideological imprint, to bring “from cradle to graduation” under one ministry roof; among many other points to be made on that, it landed an additional load onto school districts for delivery of a new range of services (along with hiring and budget considerations).

The Minister of Education and Child Care (ECC) did not attend today; child care is a distinct function under that ministry.

Statement from Ministry of Education and Child Care:

Island Social Trends asked a few more questions regarding tensions between public and private facilities as well as the interplay and integration of child care spaces within schools and school districts.

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Classroom play space at a new elementary school (PEXSISEN Elementary in Langford), Sept 2022. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Here is a statement from a Ministry of Education and Child Care spokesperson, in response:

  • Child care on school grounds makes life easier for families, provides parents with peace of mind through one drop-off and pick-up location, and helps children make a successful transition into the classroom.
  • Government is prioritizing adding child care as schools are built or replaced, and working with school districts, local communities, Indigenous governments and non-profits to determine where the need is greatest.
  • Since 2018, the Province has funded the creation of 10,000 new spaces on school grounds, with more than 2,500 of these spaces in 32 school districts operational and providing care for children.
  • The ministry also offers the Seamless Day kindergarten program at 45 sites in 33 school districts and three independent schools throughout B.C., representing around 640 licensed school-aged child care spaces.
  • This unique program provides kindergarten students with before-and after-school care right in their kindergarten classroom, making for a more consistent day during their first year of school.
  • At the same time, private child care providers continue to be an important part of the B.C. child care system and will continue to receive operational funding, the option to work with government to reduce fees for families and the ECE wage enhancement.

Who was there:

The announcement was made at the Alex & Jo Campbell Centre for Health and Wellness at Camosun College in Saanich (within Greater Victoria). Students from the ECE program attended.

Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport Lana Popham (Saanich South) emceed the announcement, and Joyce Murray (Vancouver-Quadra) pointed out a shortage of childcare in community.

jenna sudds, grace lore
Federal federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Jenna Sudds (left) and BC Minister of State for Child Care Grace Lore, Oct 30, 2023. [BC Govt]

Lore posted later in social media that she and the federal minister met with Camosun students and toured their Early Learning Lab. “Grateful for our partnership, thankful for our partners on the ground, and grateful to work alongside Minister Sudds as we build child care here in BC!”, the Minister of State for Child Care said.

Government news release & links:

Find all the details about today’s announcement in the BC Government news release: Increased wages recognize early childhood educators’ vital role as released October 30, 2023.

B.C. anticipates more than 12,000 job openings for certified ECEs and ECE assistants in the coming decade.

In addition to supporting ECEs through enhanced wages and the new grants, government is also:

  • helping with the cost of education;
  • offering ECE dual-credit programs in high schools in 30 school districts;
  • offering work-integrated learning and new student spaces at post-secondary institutions throughout the province;
  • prioritizing international ECEs under the Provincial Nominee Programs; and
  • recently introduced legislation that will help remove barriers and get internationally trained ECEs working in B.C. quicker.

Some direct links:

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Mary P Brooke, Editor & Publisher of Island Social Trends.

Island Social Trends is entirely online at IslandSocialTrends.ca. As well, a print edition will be launched in January 2024.

Founding editor and publisher is Mary P Brooke. Her vision for west shore socioeconomic and sociocultural insights has been imprinted into the west shore since 2008, through MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), West Shore Voice News (2014-2020), and Island Social Trends (2020 to present). Print editions have been archived at the Sooke Region Museum.