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NS to provide benefits and wage increases for ECEs

By Evan Taylor Dec 20, 2023 | 12:31 PM

Tabitha Blue / CC

Early childhood educators (ECEs) and staff in licensed child-care centres across Nova Scotia are set to receive a boost in their wages and, for the first time, will have access to comprehensive benefits and a pension plan.

The provincial government has announced an increase in wages for ECEs and the introduction of a benefits and pension package for all employees within the licensed child-care sector.

Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development, Becky Druhan, emphasized the invaluable contributions of ECEs and support staff, stating, “ECEs and support staff do incredible, valuable work, and we know that a strong, stable early learning and child-care system means providing programs and benefits that support staff working in the sector. We heard from the sector that balancing affordability while implementing a health benefits and retirement plan is crucial. We heard, we listened, and now we are delivering.”

The wage increase will range from approximately $3.14 to $4.24 per hour for ECEs working in provincially licensed and funded child-care centres and family home agencies. This increase will apply to various roles, including inclusion co-ordinators, assistant directors, directors, and family home consultants. Wages, based on education and experience, will range from $22.91 to $28.78 per hour for ECEs at levels 1, 2, and 3, and up to $34.54 for those in leadership roles.

Moreover, a comprehensive group benefits and pension plan will be extended to all employees within the licensed child-care sector. Group benefits will be facilitated by the non-profit Health Association Nova Scotia, while a modern defined-benefit pension will be provided through the CAAT Pension Plan, also a non-profit organization.

The implementation of these initiatives is slated to begin in 2024, with a total investment of $111 million. The Province will contribute $75.7 million, and an additional $35.3 million will be provided through a federal government agreement.