The Government of Manitoba presented the provincial budget 2015-2016 on Thursday, April 30, 2015. The Finance Minister, Hon. Greg Dewar, said this about child care in his budget speech:
Budget 2015 continues to move Manitoba toward a truly universally accessible child-care system by:
MCCA supports the announcement to fund more spaces and improve compensation for Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) , Child Care Assistants, and Family Child Care Providers. As of December 31, 2014 there are 11,105 children province wide on the online child care registry and in need of a licensed child care space.
Support for higher wages is essential as most child care centres cannot afford to fairly compensate ECEs at the current market competitive salary range, which is from $18.00 – $22.50 per hour for a graduate with a 2 year diploma or a degree.
Source: Market Competitive Salary Guideline Scale for Early Learning and Child Care Programs 2014- 2015: MCSGS 2014-2015
The minimum starting wage for an ECE in Manitoba has been $15.50 an hour since 2009.
The province controls both parent fees and operating grants for licensed facilities, which means an annual funding increase must be provided by government to cover the inflationary increases to operating costs along with a wage increase for employees.
There is a chronic, long term ECE shortage in Manitoba so not all of the child care centres licensed by the Government of Manitoba are able to meet the minimum standards for trained staff. A very successful provincial ECE training strategy has led to more ECE graduates in recent years, but has not solved the staff shortage. Unfortunately, there is no system to track turnover of ECEs, which makes effective problem solving difficult. Anecdotally, it seems ECEs leave the child care system because they can no longer afford to work in it, especially after becoming a parent and having to find and pay for their own child’s care. In addition, there are now more employment opportunities in other sectors for someone with a post secondary credential in early childhood education. For example, the average maximum paid by school divisions for an ECE working as an Educational Assistant is $19.25/hour.
MCCA has been calling on the Government of Manitoba to fund market competitive salaries for the child care workforce since 2007.
Details on how the new funding for child care will be allocated to licensed facilities will be provided by the Minister of Family Services in the near future.
Posted by Jodie Kehl at 3:17 pm