Photo of early childhood educator and two children making paintingsCUPE Nova Scotia is urging the provincial government to release details of the compensation framework for early childhood educators (ECEs) that was promised to begin this Fall.

“ECEs are beyond frustrated with the lack of clarity and transparency around the bilateral agreement that was signed more than 17 months ago,” says CUPE Nova Scotia President Nan McFadgen. “This is utterly disrespectful to these workers, who give everything they have to the children and families in their care.”

Childcare workers in Halifax and across the province are planning a day of action on September 8 to remind the government that ECEs cannot wait any longer.

“These workers, mostly women, need to know if they will be able to afford to stay in their chosen profession,” says McFadgen. “The median wage of $17 an hour is not enough to cover rent, bills and put food on the table. Working without sick benefits is unsustainable. Working without a pension is working without a future.”

A 2019 study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives found that 82 per cent of the licensed childcare facilities surveyed had trouble recruiting and retaining qualified staff, and that ECEs felt “unappreciated and underpaid.”

“We cannot continue to place the burden of childcare on the backs of underpaid workers, who cannot afford the system they are expected to create,” McFadgen says. “Without ECEs there will be no childcare spaces.”

CUPE represents staff at seven non-profit childcare centres in Halifax and Bridgewater.