Quality and Compensation

Child Care Quality and Compensation

Quality early learning and child care is best provided by consistent, sensitive, responsive, well trained, and well compensated educators.  There are many rewards for working in child care but remuneration, for most,  is not one of them.  Child care has a deeply entrenched reputation as a poorly paying sector, vulnerable to changes in government, and in the economy.  Although there has been some progress on wages, most Early Childhood Educators earn 20-25% less than jobs that require similar qualifications and experience.

There is a long term shortage of Early Childhood Educators in Manitoba.  In 2013, 27% of licensed child care centres cannot recruit employees with the qualifications required by the Community Child Care Standards Act.

The highest  paying child care centres will have a better chance to  attract and retain the best qualified and skilled employees.  Children will benefit from consistent caregivers and long term relationships, experience  a higher  quality early learning environment, and parents are able to have confidence and security with their child care program.

How Much Should an ECE Earn? 

The board of directors of each child care centres establishes its own salary scale and should make competitive wages for all employees in all positions a priority. Most board members have little to no experience being employers so establishing a wage scale that reflects the qualifications they require,  is competitive with other child care centres and also with other sectors that hire ECE’s (like school divisions) is  an enormous challenge.  MCCA has a resource to help.

Market Competitive Salary Guideline Scale for Early Learning and Child Care Centres

In 2007, MCCA retained People First HR Services to provide professional assistance in establishing a market competitive wage scale to enable the child care sector to compete more effectively with other sectors that have similar/comparable jobs. The development of the market competitive salary scale included an analysis of the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of Executive Directors, Early Childhood Educators, and Child Care Assistants. These are described in the job descriptions included in MCCA’s Human Resource Management Guide for Early Childhood Programs. Early Childhood Programs that implement the Market Competitive Salary Guideline Scale should also be using the job descriptions from MCCA’s Human Resource Management Guide.

MCCA indexes the scale annually, based on the average annual wage increases in Manitoba, as recommended to us from the data compiled by PeopleFirst.  In 2014, MCCA contracted with PeopleFirst HR Services to conduct another market review to ensure the salary guideline scale reflects current competitive rates of pay.  Adjustments were made as per their findings, including an enhanced adjustment for the Child Care Assistant to bring the Level 5 up to the average low for Educational Assistants.

Educational Assistant wages in Manitoba schools range from an average low of $30,500 to an average high of $51,300. The average maximum is $19.25/hour or $40,043.

As new spaces are licensed, competition for ECEs becomes harder. In addition, school divisions are hiring ECEs and are able to offer higher wages than most child care centres can afford to pay.

What’s New for 2023-2024?

The first research-based Market Competitive Salary Guideline Scale was published by MCCA in 2007. Ten years ago, the recommended salary range for an ECE that works directly with children was $15.00 – $18.75 per hour.

MCCA has been indexing the MCSGS for 15+ years. This year, MCCA consulted and considered published data of both 2023 actual and 2024 predicted increases within Canada and Manitoba specifically, ultimately deciding on a 3.5% index for the MCSGS.

How much do ECEs currently earn?

According to the 2023-2024 Early Learning and Child Care Wage Grid[i] released by the Province of Manitoba (effective July 1, 2023), the starting point for hourly wages are:

  • Director ECE III (51-150 spaces) – $32.18
  • Assistant Director ECE II – $26.04
  • Supervisor (ECE II) – $24.75
  • Frontline Staff
    • ECE III – $23.66
    • ECE – Entry Level – $20.73

[i] https://gov.mb.ca/education/childcare/students_workforce/print,wage_grid.html


Child care centres that cannot afford the most current Salary Guideline Scale should take advantage of the professional expertise that developed the MCCA salary scales, and use the most current scale that fits within the budget.

Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care Program (ELCC)Average Hourly Rates of Pay

The Early Learning and Child Care Program, Government of Manitoba, is the child care  licensing authority.. They have provided average hourly rates of pay based on the financial information provided to them by not for profit child care centres in Manitoba.

Links to Additional Information

Occupational Standards for Early Childhood Educators: click here

Occupational Standards For Early Childhood Educators, Infant Care Profile click here

Occupational Standards for Early Childhood Educators, School Age Profile click here

Occupational Standards for Child Care Administrators: Download a copy at click here

MCCA’s Human Resource Management Guide for Early Childhood Programs click here

Child Care Human Resource Sector Council

Information on the Classification of Early Childhood Educators and Child Care Assistants in Manitoba