GN to ‘enhance’ wages for early childhood educators, minister says

Improving wages, training will help Nunavut recruit, retain workers, Education Minister Pamela Gross says

Nunavut Education Minister Pamela Gross says the GN hopes to improve recruitment, retention and recognition of early childhood education workers and will release a new pay grid for them in October. (File photo)

By Meral Jamal

Nunavut plans to increase wages for early childhood educators when it releases a new grid for them in October, the territory’s Education Minister Pamela Gross says.

“We’ll be enhancing our wage scale for our ECE workers,” Gross said Thursday after a one-day meeting in Iqaluit of federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for early learning and childcare.

It’s a move aimed at helping the Government of Nunavut recruit and retain more of the workers, she added.

Early childhood educators work with children and are the backbones of licensed child care centres, daycares and kindergartens.

With a new grid, the government wants to ensure early childhood educators “are getting paid while they do get that enhanced training and work towards the certification that they need to be in the workforce and to look for more opportunities going forward.”

Gross did not say what the new pay rates for workers in Nunavut will be.

But the current hourly wage for ECE assistants in Nunavut ranges from $16 to $30, according to the federal government’s job bank.

Federal Minister for Children, Families and Social Development Karina Gould, pictured here with other provincial and territorial ministers in Iqaluit Thursday, says provinces and territories that have increased wages “are having a much better time both recruiting and also retaining their early childhood educators and childcare workers.” (Photo by Meral Jamal)

The ministers met Thursday at the Aqsarniit Hotel in a forum to advance shared priorities in early learning and child care.

Federal Minister for Children, Families and Social Development Karina Gould, who co-chaired the meeting, said provinces and territories that have increased their wages “are having a much better time both recruiting and also retaining their early childhood educators and childcare workers.”

“If we’re going to not only expand but just maintain the spaces that we have across Canada, it’s important to make sure that we are thinking differently about recruitment and also having an important retention strategy,” Gould told Nunatsiaq News in an interview Friday.

“And then, of course, recognizing the really hard work that early childhood educators do.”

She noted Manitoba also has a pension and benefits plan for childcare workers that the governments of Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia are hoping to create for their own jurisdictions.

Provincial governments in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan and Ontario have announced changes to their wage grids for ECE workers since 2021.

Nova Scotia, for example, is spending $100 million a year to increase wages for early childhood educators by between 14 per cent and 43 per cent retroactive to July 4, 2022, starting in May this year.

Gould said the goal of the forum held was for the ministers “to learn from each other and talk about what they can do [better].”

All the ministers agreed to develop a Canada-wide strategy for the early learning and childcare workforce.

As well, a working group on worker mobility between provinces and territories and foreign credential recognition was formed “to ensure seamless movement of qualified staff across Canada and from around the world.”

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(6) Comments:

  1. Posted by 867 on

    Nunavut daycares need qualified and reliable ECE’s not random unqualified workers with questionable attendance and work ethic. A closed daycare has a negative ripple affect across an entire community and when all 5 staff call in sick all at once after pay day, its a serious problem. The GN should be in charge of staffing daycares, not the Hamlets.

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  2. Posted by MARS on

    Knee-jerk….

    What about the rest of GN workers who are working with a 40% vacancy rate….

    NEU failed GN workers during the last negotiations.

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    • Posted by Predictable & boring on

      The reflexive negativity on these articles is beyond tedious.

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    • Posted by 867 on

      Some might say it’s closer to a 70% vacancy rate as half the workers seem to think they can browse tiktok and Facebook 2 days a week and call in sick the other 3.

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  3. Posted by Hunter on

    Nunavutmiut are waiting years to get their infants and toddlers in day care. YEARS! Many missed working hours both in the public and private sectors because employees cannot get daycare space of find a sitter.

    Another great “Pat your self on the back” job for spending more money and solving/accomplishing absolutely nothing.

    Nunavut need more daycare spaces, the situation is going to get worse as our population increases.

    Sometimes I wonder what goes on in our public servants heads that put the cart before the horse.

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    • Posted by Think harder on

      I don’t suppose higher wages in the sector and greater access to training would incentivize more day cares to open, eh?

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