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 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.
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.”