The following letter to the editor appeared in the Nova Scotia Advocate on February 25, 2021, and the Chronicle Herald on March 8, 2021.

I am an early childhood educator (ECE) who graduated from the Nova Scotia Teachers College in Truro. This marks my 31st year of working for a great child care centre in the Halifax Regional Municipality.

One would think that after 31 years of service working for the same employer, I’d be retired or planning my retirement. Unfortunately, this is not the case, as my employer cannot afford a pension plan for staff — who, by the way, deserve a great pension plan! So I will have to keep working until I am 65 years old and maybe older in a job that is physically and mentally demanding.

I have advocated all my career for ECEs to be recognized as the professionals we are. Unfortunately, we have not been able to achieve this goal yet. We are underpaid, have no pension and no benefits — or if we do have benefits, the premiums that we pay are too expensive for the money we make. It is appalling and degrading that in 2021, we are still viewed as babysitters and not as educators caring and developing young minds. As for me, it is too late for a pension plan to be beneficial, but I will continue to fight for all ECEs to get the recognition, benefits and pensions that we all deserve.

To all my fellow ECEs: we need to unite and fight for our right to fair wages, affordable benefits and a pension plan that would allow us to retire above the poverty line.

Nicole Poirier
Early Childhood Educator, Halifax