The governments of Canada and Manitoba announced the allocation of nearly $37 million to implement a wage grid that will support wage equity for the early childhood workforce in funded child-care facilities.
“Our government recognizes that a well-compensated workforce is essential to stabilize and strengthen the early learning and child-care sector and is a critical step in addressing labour market shortages,” said Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning Minister Wayne Ewasko. “This investment will support the dedicated staff who provide high-quality care and early learning opportunities that promote positive early childhood development outcomes, setting the stage for the lifelong success for young Manitobans.”
Under the Canada-Manitoba Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, $34.7 million will be allocated to the existing operating grants through an additional Wage Grid Supplement to support wage equity for early learning and child-care sector staff who care for children under the age of seven.
The funding will allow non-profit child-care boards to develop fair, consistent and competitive wage scales for early childhood educators and child-care assistants across the province. The wage grid in the Canada-wide agreement sets out equitable wage targets to provide funded facilities with guidance on wages for child-care assistants and early childhood educators.
“Early childhood educators are at the very heart of the Canada-wide early learning and child care system,” said federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Karina Gould. “Today’s announcement with Manitoba is a meaningful step in valuing their essential work and ensuring they have the support they need to continue caring for our children every day.”
The wage grid supplement will be effective as of July 1 and will help the sector retain qualified, experienced staff and boost recruitment efforts. Through the Wage Grid Operating Supplement, all funded facilities will receive a 12 per cent increase in the revenue generated per space, to support increased, equitable staff wages.
The Manitoba government is investing an additional $2.3 million to ensure staff working in school-age child-care programs are also fairly and consistently compensated.
“Today’s announcement builds on recent investments under the extension of the Canada-Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care Agreement announced in February 2022. At that time, $6.6 million was allocated toward the Wage Bridge Benefit, which would carry us over to the launch of the wage grid,” said Ewasko. “The Wage Bridge Benefit provided a one-time retroactive wage supplement for the lowest-paid child-care assistants and early childhood educators during 2021-22, to increase their wages and move us closer to the targets outlined in today’s wage grid announcement.”
The development of a wage grid is a commitment made by all provinces and territories outside of Quebec as part of the investment to build a Canada-wide early learning and child-care system.
“The Manitoba government recognizes the invaluable service of the province’s child-care assistants and early childhood educators, and we are proud to be one of the first jurisdictions in Canada that is ready to proceed with implementing a wage grid to better support the early childhood learning workforce,” said Ewasko. “These important investments are part of our ongoing commitment to ensuring all Manitoba families, regardless of where in the province they live, have access to high-quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive early learning and child-care services.”