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Ontario ECEs among lowest paid in Canada, advocates say

TORONTO — Advocates say that early childhood educators in Ontario are among the lowest paid in the country, and say that raising their wages is critical to the success of the $10-a-day child-care program.

Part of the agreement that Ontario signed with the federal government in joining the national program was setting a wage floor of $18 an hour in 2022 and increasing it by $1 a year up to $25.

The Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario and the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care say in a policy paper today that the current rate of $19 an hour makes the effective minimum wage the third lowest in the country.

The advocates say that many centres across the province are limiting enrolment or closing rooms because of a staffing shortage primarily driven by the low wages.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce says he will be releasing a workforce strategy this fall that will include a boost to compensation, though he would not say by how much.

The two groups are calling for a salary scale of at least $30 to $40 an hour for registered ECEs and at least $25 an hour for non-ECE staff, who are about 40 per cent of the workers in licensed child care.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 17, 2023.

The Canadian Press