The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has announced the implementation of a new wage grid for early childhood educators in regulated childcare centers that are part of the Operating Grant Program. The wage grid will take effect from April 1, 2023, and includes a base rate of $25 per hour for Level II early childhood educators holding a two-year diploma. This rate will apply to new graduates. Educators who continue to further their education and receive a higher certification level will be placed at Step One of their new level. The wage grid includes steps that last for 12 months and are effective from January 1, 2023.
The Minister of Education, the Honourable John Haggie, made the announcement at Gander Academy and was joined by Christine Penney, an early childhood educator, and Jason Brown, President and CEO of YMCA-NL. In addition, there will be a 10% adjustment for administrator positions, and early childhood educators working in regulated child care centers in Labrador will receive a Labrador Allowance of just over $5,000.
Legacy wage rates will remain in place for staff members whose current earnings exceed the proposed wage scale, ensuring that no one will earn less than they are currently earning. A one-time payment will also be made directly to early childhood educators to cover the period from January 1 to March 31, 2023.
The government of Newfoundland and Labrador has prioritized increasing the number of early childhood educators working in the sector. In addition to the new wage grid, the province has introduced a number of initiatives, including providing funding to the College of the North Atlantic, Keyin College, and Academy Canada to expand the number of seats they can offer in early learning programs. These agreements will see an increase of over 700 seats at the end of this year. The province is also enhancing grants and bursaries for early childhood education students and graduates, conducting in-person information sessions across the province to attract more individuals to the profession, providing a recognition bonus for early childhood educators, and increasing funding for operators, including family homes.
Premier Furey stated that the new wage grid would provide an incentive for prospective students to choose early childhood education as their career. The government is committed to creating affordable and accessible childcare systems and recognizing the valuable contributions of early childhood educators. Karina Gould, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Government of Canada, commended Newfoundland and Labrador for making progress in making access to high-quality, affordable, flexible, and inclusive, regulated child cares a reality across the province.
The Association of Early Childhood Educators of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Executive Director, Skye Crawford Taylor, said that the new wage grid was a great starting point in developing an education and career pathway for early childhood educators. The Association looks forward to seeing the development of future workforce strategies as the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement progresses.
The implementation of a new wage grid for early childhood educators is an essential step in recognizing their valuable contributions to the early learning and childcare system. The government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s commitment to increasing capacity in affordable child care through various initiatives will create a brighter future for everyone.