Governments must do more to raise the floor for ECEC sector workers
Edmonton – Following the announcements of details for the bilateral agreement to expand Alberta’s Early Learning and Child Care Centres and increase child care spaces, the federal government needs to do more to attract, retain, and support Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) workers, ensuring high quality care for Alberta’s families.
“We’re glad to see movement on childcare wage floors. The Alberta Government’s voluntary wage floor for ECEC workers is a good first step in attracting, retaining, and supporting workers to staff Alberta’s ECEC sector – but this goes above and beyond the bilateral agreement and isn’t supported with federal dollars,” says Siobhan Vipond, Secretary Treasurer of Alberta Federation of Labour. “Now, the federal government needs to step up with more funding. Alberta needs affordable, high quality child care. And high quality care, with all of its many benefits, can’t exist without qualified staff who stay in the field. That means educators who are well trained and appropriately paid.”
Currently, Alberta’s ECEC workers are the lowest paid in the country when compared to median provincial income, a problem Vipond says limits qualified educators and workers from joining or staying in the field. “Alberta not only pays its workers proportionately less than other provinces – we also have the lowest proportion of ECEC workers with specific early-education training, at only 30 per cent of workers. And this is a problem because studies show higher levels of education and training – as well as higher incomes – increase the quality and outcomes of a childcare program.”
Albertans understand this link, and they are calling on the federal government to do more to support not only more spaces, but to provide real funding and vision to the sector as a whole. “This increased funding and the expansion of the Early Learning and Child Care Centres is a good thing. It means thousands more Alberta families will have access to high quality child care spaces,” says Siobhan Vipond. “But a piecemeal approach won’t reap the same benefits as a thoughtful, integrated, fully funded early childhood education and care system.”
“With all said and done, this announcement simply isn’t enough. We need the federal government to show real leadership by funding a comprehensive early childhood education and care system – one that supports workers, families, and communities as a whole.”
Alberta Federation of Labour continues to call on our governments to support our kids with FairStart Alberta, a campaign to implement universal Early Childhood Education and Care that supports children, workers, women and families in Alberta. Read more at www.fairstartalberta.ca.
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