Wages increase by up to two dollars an hour by April 2020
By Katie Czenczek, News Editor
It was a momentous day for Early Childhood Educators (ECE) in British Columbia.
On September 5, Harjit S. Sajjan, federal Minister of National Defence and MP for Vancouver South, Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development, Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, and Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care, made announcements that directly affect post-secondary students who hope to work in early education as well as the many other individual and groups who benefit from new child care initiatives.. These announcements were made in the courtyard outside of Langara College’s Students’ Union, right beside the daycare centre.
Sajjan started off the press release by calling to attention the additions to the Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) bilateral agreement. The ELCC is an agreement made between British Columbia and Canada for the direction child care in BC will go. During the press release Sajjan said that there will be a bursary increase at BC post-secondary institutions for child care programs.
“Today, I’m happy to announce the bursary component of the bilateral agreement,” he said. “This will include $10 million in funding to expand and enhance the ECE bursary program. This will support more students and help with the cost that creates barriers to education. Through this funding, we will also increase the maximum per month from $300 to $500 per course, and up to a maximum of $4000 per semester. Finally, we will be providing 60 percent of the funding to students up front, and the remaining 40 percent upon proof of successful completion of these courses.”
Prior to the announcements on Wednesday, students were given the majority of their bursary after they had already completed the courses.
Following Sajjan’s speech, Conroy said that current child care workers’ wages would also increase.
“We know that wages are a critical factor to this sector and that we need to address them,” she said. “We need to support our long-term goal of creating a universal child care system.”
To this end, Conroy said, first of all ECEs who work in facilities where this child care fee reduction initiative applies “will receive a one-dollar-an-hour wage enhancement in early 2019.”
For those who wanted to upgrade their education, they would be eligible for a separate bursary than the one Sajjan announced prior, said Conroy.
“We will also provide $5000 a semester to support current professionals looking to upgrade their qualifications,” she said. “This funding will help to cover additional costs, like travel costs, for those who attend school outside of their community.”
Mark closed the speeches by announcing that additional funding will be put towards post-secondary institutions to expand ECE at British Columbian colleges and universities.
“We know that there will be over 9,000 job openings that are going to be available for childhood educators and assistants across province in the next decade,” she said. “That’s why I’m proud to announce that we’ve invested $7.4 million to add new student spaces to post-secondary institutions throughout the province over the next three years. We will be able to graduate another 620 Early Childhood Educators.”