More support for early childhood educators in Alberta
Alberta’s government is providing early childhood educators with a one-time payment and wage top-up to help recruit and retain staff.
Early childhood educators (ECEs) are integral to the development of the youngest learners. They provide high-quality child care that is key to balancing work and family so that parents have peace of mind while they are at work. That is why Alberta’s government fought so hard for a child care deal that works for Alberta.
The next part of that deal is focused on attracting more ECEs and keeping them in the child care sector. To do that, the existing wage top-ups for all paid hours will increase as of January 1, 2023, by up to two dollars per hour. This support is critical to continuing to provide Alberta families with high quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive child care.
“The Government of Alberta supports parental choice in childcare and the workers who help provide it. This announcement will help retain staff who are currently caring for our children, and attract new workers in child care. Because every dollar matters, this one-time payment will provide affordability relief for these hardworking Albertans heading into Christmas and the new year.”
Mickey Amery, Minister of Children’s Services
All employed ECEs with claimed hours in October and November 2022 who worked an average 30 hours-plus per week and continue to work in December will also be eligible to receive a one-time payment of $900. Those averaging fewer than 30 hours per week will be eligible for a $450 payment.
The one-time payment and wage top-up represents an investment of over $174 million in federal and provincial funding through to the end of the fiscal year 2025-26.
“We could not build our Canada-wide early learning and child-care system without the dedicated workforce of early childhood educators. The Government of Canada is committed to supporting early childhood educators and the announcement in Alberta, including significant federal funding, is an essential step in ensuring the work of these professional educators is valued.”
Karina Gould, federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
The one-time payment for ECEs represents an investment of about $13.3 million in federal funding. The Alberta government will invest $2.72 million in provincial funding for the same one-time payments for certified ECEs working in out-of-school care programs.
The increased wage top-ups for ECEs represent a $165.5 million investment in federal funding through to the end of fiscal year 2025-26. For the same increased wage top-ups for certified ECEs working in out-of-school care programs, the Alberta government will invest about $22.4 million in funding.
The one-time payments and increased wage top-ups are in addition to recently announced supports for ECEs. In October:
The paid hours eligible for wage top-ups for front-line certified ECEs were expanded. This improvement made all paid hours eligible for the existing wage top-ups, including indirect time and employer-paid vacation time.
The governments of Alberta and Canada made it easier for Albertans to start a career in child care by more than doubling the enrolment capacity for the free Level 1 child care orientation course, and making the course available to any Albertan, regardless of whether or not they are currently working in a child care program.
The governments of Canada and Alberta will continue to explore opportunities to support the ECE workforce and remain committed to working with stakeholders on their implementation.
“The Association of Early Childhood Educators of Alberta advocates for higher educational standards, better wages and working conditions and comprehensive system supports. Better compensation for early childhood educators is a step in the right direction to transform the early learning and child care workforce into a recognized profession. Early childhood educators are the heart and soul of a high-quality early learning and care system and deserve to be well supported for the very important work they do.”
Amanda Rosset, board chair, Association of Early Childhood Educators of Alberta
Alberta’s government has set aside $306.16 million in federal funding through the Canada-Alberta Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement – 2021-22 to 2025-26 to support quality initiatives and the licensed child care workforce serving families with children zero to kindergarten age.
Alberta also continues to work on other workforce supports for ECEs, including:
Developing a new competency-based approach to certification.
Supporting career pathways for ECEs through the development of a free online portal.
Creating an ECE substitute/casual pool to provide employment opportunities and help operate child care programs during staff absences.
Launching pilot programs with diverse communities to promote entry into the child-care field.
Continuing to work with Advanced Education to improve access to post-secondary programs for ECE-related spaces.
Modernizing Level 1 ECE orientation course content.
Some recent workforce supports that are already in effect include:
Expanded eligibility for release time grant funding to allow ECEs to participate in more professional development opportunities.
Expanded eligibility for the Child Care Orientation course to any Canadian citizen, permanent resident or valid work permit holder who resides in Alberta, regardless of employment status.
Provided funding for Level 3 ECEs to acquire additional skills in leadership and management to help build capacity in managing and sustaining child care operations.
The governments of Canada and Alberta are also providing:
$5.2 million to help more than 3,350 early childhood educators sharpen their skills through free early childhood brain science and development training.
$1.5 million for in-person and virtual mental health training workshops for early childhood educators working in licensed child-care centres.