New Brunswick’s early childhood educators applaud wage top-up expansion

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New Brunswick’s early childhood educators applaud wage top-up expansion
WATCH: There was cause for celebration on Thursday at early learning centres and daycares across New Brunswick. Shelley Steeves has the details – Apr 18, 2019

There’s cause for celebration at early learning centres and daycares across New Brunswick.

A wage top-up for early childhood educators (ECE) is now being made available to thousands more ECEs working across the province

Meaghan Robichaud has worked in early childhood education in Moncton for more than a decade. She has with a one-year diploma and now qualifies for a 75 cent an hour wage top up announced last week by the province’s education minister.

“I felt for a while that my experience in the field really didn’t mean anything so to know that we are valued and respected in the province of New Brunswick is fantastic,” she said.

Last week, Education Minister Dominic Cardy announced the wage increase was only being offered to ECEs with either a two-year college diploma or bachelor’s degree.

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That didn’t go over well with ECEs across the province who rallied in Moncton, saying thousands of ECEs were being overlooked.

Less than a week later, Cardy is now saying that all trained ECEs would be getting the wage top-up retroactive to April 1.

“There was a clear expression of need from parents and educators that the government needed to make that change and I was more than happy to do it,” said Cardy on Thursday afternoon.

Moncton daycare operator Melody Munro is happy with the change.

“It’s a new dawn, a new beginning, a brand new day. What a way to go into the weekend of Easter with peace and hope,” said Munro.

But she adds that the fight for higher wages is not over yet.

She said that ECEs are still wondering if their wages will be topped up to $19 in the next four years — something promised by the previous Liberal government last year.

“Our hope is to be able to continue that in the years that we have in government,” said Cardy.

Jean Robinson with Early Childhood Care and Education of New Brunswick hopes that Cardy keeps the Liberal promise. She says ECEs are resigning from early learning centres to work as unionized education assistants in the school system where they can earn $26 an hour, and she would like to see ECEs paid wages more in line with them.

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“There are so many things that need to be fixed and one of them is to start looking at the salary of an ECE,” said Robinson.

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