April 12, 2019 2:57 pm
Updated: April 12, 2019 5:10 pm

N.B. early childhood educators upset over ‘unfair’ wage increase

WATCH: Daycare providers and early childhood educators from across the province gathered in Moncton Friday saying they're being undercut by the province. Shelley Steeves reports.

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Daycare providers and early childhood educators from across New Brunswick gathered in Moncton Friday, saying they’re being undercut by the province.

Daycare owner Melody Munro said the 75 cent an hour pay increase for trained early childhood educators announced Thursday by the province isn’t enough, and that it disqualifies people with decades of child care experience.

“I am seeing 20 year veterans that are feeling like they have been broken by the province of New Brunswick today,” said Munro.

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The raise that was announced by the province will only go to those who have completed either a two-year college diploma or a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related field.

According to Janice Sutherland from E.P.Y.C., an advocate for early childhood educators, the wage increase applies to very few daycare staff across the province.

“Approximately 500 out of 4,800 will get this raise,” said Sutherland, adding that the majority of early childhood educators working in the province only have a one-year diploma.

Munro said at least 12 of her staff have already resigned from her daycares — opting instead to work as education assistants in the school system, where they can make a lot more money.

Daycare staff, including Nicole Richard with 25 years experience in early childhood education, don’t quality for the increase.

“Not getting the 75 cents for me and others, it’s just another blow for educators,” said Richard.

In January 2018, the Liberal government set aside $28 million to top up the salaries of early childhood educators to $19 an hour over four years.

WATCH: New Brunswick’s PC government continues rollout of Liberal daycare plan (Jan. 9, 2019)

The Conservative’s pay increase will bring their minimum hourly wage to $17.25 and there was no mention of further top ups.

Katie Marks has 18 years of experience, but does not qualify for the raise either.  She says she can’t afford or have the time to go back to school because she’s too busy caring for the province’s children.

“We are the people caring for them. This matters. This is where money should be. The light should be shining on us,” she said.

Global News reached out to the province for comment, but has not received a reply.

Early childhood educators across the province will be meeting over the next week to discuss their next move.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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