A successful transition to a publicly funded, universal child care system in Nova Scotia will require cooperation with all stakeholder groups, says Nan McFadgen, CUPE NS president. “Transitioning child care from a subsidized business into a fully funded public service is no small task. We believe that owners of private child care centres should be treated fairly during this historical period of transition.”
“Similarly, and arguably more important, we believe that the early childhood educators (ECE) and support staff, on whose labour these businesses have been built, have earned the same degree of fairness. Support staff in child care centres in Nova Scotia include program coordinators, supervisors, cleaning staff and others,” says McFadgen.
“Credit is due to the federal and provincial governments for finally moving forward with this universal not-for-profit model, but I’d like to stress that communication is needed with all stakeholder groups – early childhood educators, support staff in centres, owners of for-profit centres, as well as directors of non-profit centres,” says Naomi Stewart, CUPE coordinator for the child care sector. “We can work together to make this a success.”
“Parents didn’t have to wait, and neither should staff. Wages and benefits should be increased this spring – the same timeframe that fees will be reduced for parents,” says Stewart. “If the premier is serious about increasing the number of available spaces, child care must become a profession that attracts more workers and will allow them to financially support themselves and their family.”
“Since the inception of the child care industry, wages and benefits have not been commensurate with the value of work done by early childhood educators. Child care is not affordable or accessible to all,” says McFadgen. “CUPE has been lobbying for affordable, accessible, quality child care since the late 1960s.”
“So far, our province has one of the best agreements with the federal government, which CUPE supports, and we look forward to participating in the development of the compensation framework,” adds McFadgen.