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Wage announcement not a panacea for child-care access woes in Victoria

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Coles, Sidney
Publication Date: 
8 Nov 2023

In South Victoria, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ postal code index indicates only 19% of families have access to adequate daycare coverage—and falls into the orange category, or what the centre calls a daycare “desert.”

Last week, the Ministry of Education and Childcare announced that, as of Jan. 1 next year, eligible early childhood educators (ECE) who work in licensed facilities in the CRD will receive an across-the board $2-per-hour wage increase, part of a provincial Wage Enhancement initiative. The move is meant to bring additional financial security and appeal to a sector deeply struggling with recruitment and retention woes.


The government offered to double the number of ECE training seats and in March, announced study bursaries that cover the majority of ECE tuition fees, based on program costs.

This winter, ECEs who hold an infant toddler educator or special needs educator certification were able to apply for a further $2K per year in study bursaries. In addition, ECEs who hold both certificates are eligible to receive $3K per year for their studies through the province’s ECE Education Support Fund. The catch? Would-be students have to pay their full tuition fees up front and be reimbursed later.


Poor recruitment and retention, made worse by lack of benefits, defined pension plans and poor working conditions, have presented a major roadblock to getting Victoria’s kids into affordable child-care options.

Recognition of the challenge is echoed in the words of federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Jenna Judd who, at the announcement said, “If we are to succeed in building an early learning and child-care system for families across the country, we need a dedicated, well-compensated and valued early childhood workforce.”


Wage grids consider factors such as experience, education, certifications, legislative requirements and regional sector labour trends. They help to solidify fair wage expectations for workers. Federal affordable child-care funding and the new wage enhancement initiatives represent important pieces in the puzzle of how to improve access to affordable child care for families in the CRD, but underlying structural issues still plague them both.