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Creating more child care spaces and making investments to support early childhood educators

CANADA, August 21 - Today the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, Prince Edward Island Premier, Dennis King, federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Jenna Sudds, and provincial Minister of Education and Early Years, Natalie Jameson joined the PEI Early Childhood Development Association (ECDA) to announce three major initiatives to support Island families and the early years sector. 

Effective October 1, 2023, wages will increase for Early Childhood Educators and staff in designated Early Years Centres (EYCs). Wage increases are an important part of a multi-year plan to support the early learning and child care sector and encourage others to pursue a career in early childhood education. 

For the first-time ever, employees of EYCs in Prince Edward Island will soon benefit from a defined contribution pension plan, with matching government funds. As the province expands the publicly managed system, the number of staff required to maintain the program will also increase, and long-term financial investments will support a more sustainable workforce.

The new defined contribution pension plan and continued wage increases will be valuable tools for the recruitment and retention of staff for the sector. These investments also recognize the invaluable contributions made by the dedicated professionals currently working in EYCs across the province. Their commitment to nurturing, educating, and inspiring young minds is instrumental in fostering a strong foundation for future success. 

The Ministers also announced funding to increase the number of spaces in EYCs through an expansion grant, supporting both operational and capital expenses. It is anticipated that over 300 new spaces will open within the next 18 months.

All of these initiatives are being funded through the Canada-PEI Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) Agreement. The new defined contribution pension plan is being developed, implemented, and managed through the ECDA of PEI.

Quotes: 

“Investing in workers delivers results. That’s the story we see play out again and again across the country. As we make progress toward delivering $10-a-day child care for families on Prince Edward Island, we’re also improving the system and making it more accessible. That’s how we make life more affordable, create good, middle-class jobs, grow the economy, and give every child the best possible start in life.”
— The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

“Working together, we continue to make important investments to build a strong, resilient and accessible early learning and childcare system on Prince Edward Island.  These investments will help introduce over 300 new childcare spaces over the next 18 months, increase wages for early learning educators, and provide those working in the sector with a defined contribution pension plan to help attract and retain workers at designated centres across the province. The investments made today, will help build a better tomorrow, for all Islanders.”  

— Hon. Dennis King, Premier of Prince Edward Island

“Today’s announcement will improve compensation and benefits for early learning and child care workers across PEI, and will greatly expand the availability of child care on the Island. In making these announcements, PEI has once again demonstrated that hard work and strong collaboration between our levels of government will bring benefits to families and children in the province, and across Canada. I congratulate Minister Jameson and her team on these significant achievements.”
– Hon. Jenna Sudds, Federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

“This financial investment demonstrates our collective commitment to supporting early childhood staff and acknowledging the pivotal role they play in shaping the future generations of our society. By offering financial security and peace of mind, we aim to attract and retain talented individuals in this vital profession, further enhancing the quality of the early learning and child care system in our province. The new expansion grant will provide more high-quality, inclusive and affordable early learning and child-care spaces for Island families.”
– Hon. Natalie Jameson, Minister of Education and Early Years

“Today’s announcements will positivity impact the lives of those educating our island children which will strengthen the recruitment and retention of Early Childhood Educators, while supporting more families to access a high quality, early learning and child care system across PEI."
– Jennifer Nangreaves, Executive Director of the ECDA

Backgrounder: 

Increasing the wage grid
Wage increases in designated Early Years Centres will include the following, effective October 1, 2023:

  • $0.50 per hour increase for level 1 educators and cooks;
  • $1 per hour increase for level 2 educators; and 
  • $1.75 per hour increase for level 3 educators and Directors. 

This is the third wage increase for Early Childhood Educators in PEI since signing the Canada-PEI Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) Agreement in 2021.

Funding a Defined-Contribution Pension 
2019 PEI Workforce Strategy Project recommended the implementation of a shared pension plan for Early Childhood Educators.

The Department of Education and Early Years is investing in a new partnership with the ECDA of PEI to develop, implement, and manage a defined contribution pension plan (DCPP) for employees in EYCs.  

The new program is intended to support both the retention and recruitment of employees. To be eligible to participate in the program, ECDA members would be required to have three (3) months of employment in an EYC. The contribution at both the employee and EYC level is proposed at 4% of gross pay.  

The province’s annual investment is estimated at $1,180,000, which will provide both a matching contribution to plan members, as well as an administrative grant to ECDA to offset the costs associated with administering the DCPP.

Expansion Grants
There are currently 72 designated EYCs in PEI.  The number of EYCs has been increased in recent years with financial support from both Federal and Provincial investments.

An invitation for application was issued to currently designated EYCs for additional spaces on January 30, 2023 and closed on February 17, 2023. Several EYCs came forward proposing expanded spaces. This would include over 300 new spaces – with a focus on infant and toddler spaces. Operationalizing proposed spaces will depend on the level of renovation required; it is anticipated that most will be operational within the next 18 months.  

Increasing the number of child care spaces in EYCs may require Centres to modify existing space to take in additional children or purchase the necessary equipment.  

To support these spaces, under the CWELCC Agreement, PEI will be funding $633,100 in Capital infrastructure, and almost $4 million in operational funding to support these added child care spaces.

Media contacts:
Ronny Al-Nosir
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Jenna Sudds
Ronny.alnosir@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca  

Autumn Tremere
Department of Education and Early Years 
Government of Prince Edward Island
agtremere@gov.pe.ca

Additional Resources: 
•    Early Years PEI
•    Early Childhood Association of PEI

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