Halifax – At a news conference in Halifax today, early childhood educators who work in child care centres are launching a campaign, calling on the Nova Scotia Liberal government to make “economic security” for all early childhood educators a priority.
The members of CUPE 4745 and CUPE 3688, representing staff at seven non-profit child care centres in Halifax and Bridgewater, are asking for public support. Concerned parents, family members, and others can visit the campaign website EconomicSecurity.ca to send a message to their MLA and Minister Zach Churchill, asking them to allocate adequate funding to ensure equal compensation for all early childhood educators.
Currently, early childhood educators working in Nova Scotia’s child care centres do not receive the same wages, pensions and health benefits as those working in public schools, even though they do the same work and have the same qualifications. In 2017, the Province rolled out a pre-primary program for four year-old children. Parents with children under the age of four continue to seek out, or rely on, child care centres outside the pre-primary program.
Nova Scotia does not have enough qualified early childhood educators to meet the needs of all families, who are seeking quality, early learning and care in a safe environment. “We need adequate funding to stabilize the child care sector,” says Margot Nickerson, president of CUPE 4745. “The cost of providing equal compensation to all early childhood educators is achievable – through funding received from the federal government to restart the economy, the bilateral agreement currently under negotiation, and provincial funding.”
“Early childhood educators working in child care centres are an important part of the child care system in Nova Scotia. We should have access to the same provincial pension plan and health benefits that other public service workers have,” says Jennifer Chase, president of CUPE 3688.
“Almost all early childhood educators at non-profit centres are women and earn poverty-level wages,” says Nan McFadgen, president of CUPE Nova Scotia. “Yet, they have been there for all of us throughout the pandemic, helping to restart Nova Scotia’s economy and making it possible for Nova Scotian businesses and public service providers to operate.”
“Government regulates the early childhood education sector and, ultimately, the decision to correct the wage disparities rests with the premier and the minister,” says McFadgen.
The Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women (established through legislation by the Province) states that “strengthening women’s economic security” is a priority. “These early childhood educators are highly-qualified professionals who deserve better from the Liberal government. Let’s make sure they have economic security, now and in their retirement,” adds McFadgen.