Nova Scotia’s early childhood educators are finally getting a raise | City | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST
Early childhood educators marched to the Department of Education building in September as part of a rally for a living wage.

Nova Scotia’s early childhood educators are finally getting a raise

Last month, ECEs walked out because the province was taking too long to unveil a new pay scale. Today, the government announced improved wages—as high as 43%.

After years of fighting for better pay—including a walk-out last month—early childhood educators (ECEs) are getting a “decades overdue” wage bump. In a news conference on Tuesday, the department of education and early childhood development unveiled a new pay scale for ECEs working in licensed childcare centres.

Under the old wage floor, ECEs earned between $15 and $19 an hour based on their qualifications. Now, they’ll make between $19.10 and $24.39 per hour based on their education and years of experience. The province will give additional funding to employers by Nov. 1, and ECEs can expect to get paid based on the new wage scale by mid November. ECEs will be paid retroactively to July 4. New benefits for ECEs will be announced in 2023.

The pay raise is one of the promises made under the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, which Nova Scotia signed with the federal government in July 2021. The ultimate goal of the funding agreement is an average of $10 per day daycare by 2026. “We are transitioning to a publicly funded childcare system—from a patchwork system to one that is cohesive and coordinated,” education minister Becky Druhan said. The new wage scale is part of a five-year long “transformation” and standardization of childcare in the province.

click to enlarge Nova Scotia’s early childhood educators are finally getting a raise
Government of Nova Scotia
The new pay scale for childcare workers. The “levels” correspond to education, and the “steps” 1-5 correspond to years of experience.

Last month, ECEs rallied for a living wage, which ranges between $20 an hour and $23.50 an hour in Nova Scotia, at least according to The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. So while not every ECE will be making a living wage with the new pay scale, Druhan said it’s still a “significant improvement,” and celebrated the raise as “one of the single largest investments in early childhood education in our province's history.”

The province previously spent $25 million per year on childcare wages, and the new wage scale will cost about $100 million a year—$65 million from the province and $35 million from the federal government—Druhan said.

The difference between the old wage floor and the new pay scale is that the wage floor was a minimum wage for ECEs. Now they can make “no more, no less,” than what’s on the new pay scale. People making more than the maximum on the new scale won’t see a pay cut though, Druhan said. They’ll be salary protected until the pay scale “catches up”—the new scale will adjust regularly, just like other public sector wage scales.

Additionally, employers will now get money for wages from the province every two weeks instead of quarterly, and they’ll be funded based on the hours they operate, not per diem.

Kaija Jussinoja

Kaija Jussinoja was a news reporter at The Coast, where she covered the stories that make Halifax the weird and wonderful place we call home. She is originally from North Vancouver, BC and graduated from the University of King’s College in 2022. Jussinoja joined The Coast in May 2022 after interning at The Chronicle...
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