The investment is part of roughly $17 million of the one-time federal funding to support qualified members of the early childhood workforce. It is part of the extension of the Canada-Saskatchewan Early Learning and Child Care Agreement.
According to a statement released Wednesday, this is part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to building Canada-wide early learning and child care system in partnership with provincial, territorial and indigenous partners. This includes a federal investment of roughly $1.1 billion in child care in Saskatchewan.
Saskatchewan education minister Dustin Duncan says the province is thankful for the hard work ECEs do daily.
“This investment will recognize that hard work while creating an incentive for people to consider becoming ECEs themselves,” said Duncan.
Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Karina Gould says by building a stronger workforce in the province, more children will have access to high-quality early learning and the best start to life.
“Child care is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.”
The wage increase is retroactive to July 1, 2021, with centres expected to have access to the funds for distribution by December. The increased amount will vary according to each ECE certification level with $1, $2, and $3 per hour for its corresponding levels of 1, 2 and 3.
The Ministry of Education is in the process of gathering information in order to calculate the wage increases, the release says.
Saskatchewan Early Childhood association executive director Georgia Lavallee says this announcement will help support all ECEs and the crucial impact they have on a child’s development and future.
“A wage increase for ECEs is an exciting step for the Early Learning and Child Care sector in Saskatchewan,” Lavallee said in a press release. “High-quality early learning and child care is dependant on ECEs and higher wages will aid in retaining and educating ECEs in our province.”
The government of Saskatchewan is committed to developing a wage grid for all ECEs in Saskatchewan. The one-time increase is a step towards implementation by the end of 2022-23.
The release said all remaining funds will go towards ECE training and career development in areas such as diploma and certificate training, supporting adult learners and high school students for making childhood education a career, and bursaries for individuals enrolled in full-time, in-person ECE programs.
Meanwhile, the Government of Canada says by the end of 2022, they aim to drop the fees for early childhood learning by 50 per cent, making it more affordable for all families. Furthermore, their goal is to bring regulated child care fees down to $10 per day on average within five years.