Early Childhood Educators and child care workers in Nova Scotia rallied for proper compensation and better working conditions on Thursday, September 8th. Child Care Now Nova Scotia walked alongside them.
Educators are demanding that the Nova Scotia government act urgently to address the crisis facing the early childhood education workforce. Nova Scotia, like provinces and territories elsewhere in Canada, is suffering high staff turnover, educator shortages caused in large part by low pay and difficult working conditions in the child care sector.
Bobbi Keating, an experienced early childhood educator who attended the rally, said, “even though we’re there for your children every day, we can’t feed our children at night. It’s really important for people to understand that.”
The current wage floor for ECEs in Nova Scotia is $15 per hour for Level 1, $17 per hour for Level 2, and $19 per hour for Level 3, many of which fall below the living wage for all five regions in the province. The wage floor also leaves out workers in the sector who do not have an ECE certification.
Following the rally, Nova Scotia Education Minister, Becky Druhan, said that a new wage plan would be announced “as quickly as we can.” This does not answer the rally chant: “ECEs can’t wait, fall is too late.”
“Workers and parents need action now,” said Nikki Jamieson, Coordinator of Child Care Now Nova Scotia.
“Each day that the wages, benefits, and working conditions of this feminized sector are left unaddressed, more qualified staff are lost, more spaces for families are closed, and early learning and child care becomes less available and less affordable for all,” she said.
“In order for child care to expand, the government must understand that the workforce crisis is central to building a universally accessible and high quality system of early learning and child care,” she added.