A Fair Start for Kids Requires a Fair Start for Workers

High quality early childhood education and care – and all of its benefits – can’t exist without high quality educators.

Edmonton - This morning, Fair Start Alberta officially launched the second phase of their campaign: Fair Start for Workers. The campaign is calling on the government to ensure child care workers are well trained, fairly compensated, and can expect a more secure retirement.

“Generations of right-wing governments in Alberta have left us with an ineffective child care system that has priced some families out of accessing quality care”, said Siobhan Vipond, Secretary Treasurer of the Alberta Federation of Labour. “This has left many workers in this sector to suffer in an inadequate system. It’s time to ensure all families have access to high quality child care when they need it.”

Alberta’s Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) workers are the lowest paid in the country when compared to median provincial income. In 2015, workers in this sector had starting wages ranging from $10.20 - $12.00 an hour with a median overall wage of $15.20 an hour. Alberta also had the lowest proportion of ECEC workers with specific early education training, partly because their wages do not fairly reflect their investment in professional education and training.

“High quality care means workers are respected. For too long, child care professionals have subsidized low fees or high profits by being forced to accept low wages, throwing up barriers to their own contribution to their community and our economy,” said Vipond. “Alberta needs to commit to fairness for these workers by ensuring proper training opportunities, pay increases that reflect their education and responsibilities, and by creating a pension program for the sector.”

Fair work conditions for child care workers creates higher quality programs, which benefit everyone. Studies show that higher levels of training and education for staff, and pay increases that reflect that, increase the quality and outcomes of child care programs. Higher wages reduce turnover and improve child-to-educator relationships. They also attract employees with higher education or certification and more experience.

“We have been pleased to see the Government of Alberta take action with a $25/day child care program in spite of tough economic times, but demand continues to outstrip supply”, said Vipond, “Our campaign will continue to call for a high quality universal system that ensures fairness for the workers.”

Media Contact:
For further information, please contact:
Janelle Morin, Director of Communications
780-278-3640 or jmorin@afl.org

More on Fair Start Alberta:

Fair Start Alberta calls on the government to implement universal Early Childhood Education and Care that supports children, workers, women and families in Alberta. Over the coming months the campaign will host community BBQs on Father’s Day, gather online petition signatures, and lobby the provincial government to ensure that child care workers are well trained, receive fair compensation, and have a secure retirement by:

• expanding The Alberta Early Learning and Child Care Centres pilot program to cover all of Alberta;
• increasing educational and professional development opportunities for workers in the sector by providing accessible programs which include wage-loss compensation;
• ensuring increased educational requirements are accompanied by increased remuneration reflecting education and responsibilities; and
• starting a pension program for the child care sector to ensure workers have a secure retirement.

Read more at: http://www.fairstartalberta.ca/ 


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