EDMONTON - Today, the federal government announced that families in Newfoundland and Labrador are benefitting from $10-a-day regulated child care – three years ahead of the national target. The federal government estimates that families will save around $6,300 per year for each child in care. In addition to the savings to families, the federal government also announced a wage grid starting at $25 per hour for early childhood educators with a two-year diploma.
Progressive advocacy organization Public Interest Alberta has been an active voice in child care advocacy for decades. Bradley Lafortune, Public Interest Alberta’s Executive Director, stressed the importance of investment into the child care workforce as a pillar of quality.
“Child care advocates are celebrating a huge win in Newfoundland today,” said Lafortune. “It is exciting to see a renewed focus on investment into the professionals doing a critical job in our society. Highly-trained staff implementing the latest in child development research means we get the most positive benefits for children — not to mention the economic benefit of access to high quality, accessible, and affordable child care.”
“Child care workers are professional educators who deserve to be treated with dignity and earn a living wage,” said Lafortune. “We need to take what is happening in Newfoundland as a model for a child care system that works for everyone and apply it here immediately.”
The child care system across Canada is plagued with a workforce crisis, which threatens the implementation of the national $10-a-day program. In Alberta, there are about 4000 fewer ECEs than there were at the start of the pandemic which compounds the already-existing workforce deficit.
“Low wages, high turnover, and burnout are major contributors to the workforce issues in child care,” said Lafortune. “The Alberta government must take Newfoundland’s move as an example and establish a salary grid with competitive wages and benefits. Anything less is unacceptable and won't solve the workforce challenges we’re seeing."
“The working conditions of ECEs become the care conditions of kids,” said Lafortune. “An investment in ECEs is an investment into Alberta’s future.”