High quality early childhood education and care – and all of its benefits– can’t exist without high quality educators. For too long, these trained and educated professionals have subsidized low fees or high profits by being forced to accept low wages - throwing up barriers to their own contribution to the community and economy and discouraging excellent candidates from entering the field.
To make sure that all workers and all children get a fair chance in our province, Alberta needs to commit to paying just wages to a professional and trained workforce of respected early childhood educators. Fair work conditions for ECEC employees create higher quality programs, which benefits everyone.
- Alberta’s ECEC workers are the lowest paid in the country when compared to median provincial income. In 2015 workers in this sector can have starting wages ranging from $10.20 - $12.00 an hour with a median overall wage of $15.20 an hour.
- The average hourly wage in Alberta is 56 per cent higher than the average hourly wage for an ECEC worker.
- Alberta is in the middle of the pack for staff-to-child ratios at roughly 1 to 7.
- Alberta also has the lowest proportion of ECEC workers with specific early-education training at 30 per cent (compared to 50 per cent in Ontario), partly because ECEC wages in Alberta do not present fair compensation that better reflects each educator’s investment in professional education and training.
- Studies show that higher levels of training and education for staff as well as higher incomes for staff increases the quality and outcomes of the childcare program. Higher wages will reduce turnover and improve child-to-educator relationships. It will also attract employees with higher education or certification and more experience.
- Studies show that programs with well-educated, adequately paid teachers, small classes (no more than 20 children), and reasonable staff-child ratios (less than 1:10) have repeatedly produced strong short- and long-term educational gains. Programs putting fewer resources into the classroom often have failed to achieve similar results.
- Investments in childcare present the highest employment multipliers of any sector, meaning that each dollar spent on childcare generates the most direct and indirect jobs. The direct employment multiplier for the ECEC sector is 44 per cent higher than the next closest industry. Similarly, the GDP multiplier of childcare is amongst the five highest of all sectors.
- By creating good jobs in ECEC with fair working conditions, we generate more jobs and economic activity while fairly respecting and valuing professional educators and improving the chances of success in early education for kids.