ROTHESAY (GNB) – The provincial government has announced a 75 cent per hour wage increase for early childhood educators who have completed a two-year college diploma or a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related field.

“This increase will help build the world-class education system we are envisioning for New Brunswick,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy. “Training and on-going professional development are recognized as the cornerstone of high-quality early childhood services.”

Cardy made the announcement today at Tender Tots Childcare in Rothesay.

More than 1,000 educators could qualify for the wage increase in 2019-20. When combined with the minimum wage increase to $11.50 per hour that came into effect April 1, and the increase in the wage top-up to $5.75 per hour from $5 per hour, trained educators will now earn a minimum hourly wage of $17.25 per hour.

The provincial government allocated $1 million in 2019-20 toward increased wages for trained early childhood educators.

“The increase supports moving early childhood education forward as a professional field of practice and ensuring a strong pedagogical leadership within these services,” said Cardy. “It further strengthens the alignment between early learning and the public-school system. In anticipation of an increased demand for diploma-level training, both the New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) and the Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick (CCNB) are offering an online two-year diploma.”

“Early childhood educators play a vital role in giving our youngest New Brunswickers a strong start in life,” said NBCC president and CEO Marilyn Luscombe. “NBCC is very proud of the graduates from our early childhood education programs. We welcome measures which recognize the valuable contribution made by these skilled professionals and which will attract more people to this important work.”

“The CCNB welcomes this news, which confirms the importance of training for early learning educators in New Brunswick,” said Roger Doucet, acting CEO of the CCNB. “We have long-standing expertise in this sector: since 1984 our institution has offered a high-quality program in French. We have achieved a placement rate of about 97 per cent for the 274 individuals who completed this program over the past five years. This wage increase is good news for our students and graduates. We believe it will also encourage more individuals to take advantage of this training.”

The provincial government has committed to improving the quality of the early learning and child care system with a focus on removing barriers families may encounter in obtaining affordable and inclusive services. Today’s announcement is an investment in the early learning workforce.

To date, more than 330 child care facilities and more than 90 homes have become designated New Brunswick Early Learning Centres and Homes, surpassing the government’s goal.