New Report Highlights Childcare Workforce in Crisis

March 28, 2024

Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) in Newfoundland and Labrador have reached a breaking point according to survey results compiled by local childcare advocates. According to a recent survey, 62 percent of ECEs will have to leave the profession in order to secure benefits and 42 percent will consider leaving the field because of low wages.

The report, “The Childcare Crisis is a Workforce Crisis” outlines the results of a survey commissioned by the Jimmy Pratt Foundation and the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour in collaboration with the Workers’ Action Network and local childcare researchers. More than 500 ECEs from across the province were surveyed in November 2023 to gather views on wages, benefits, and working conditions.

“The provincial government has two choices. The first is to continue with the status quo, where getting a childcare spot is like winning the lottery. The second is to step up provincial funding for the ECE workforce and make Newfoundland and Labrador the best place to work in Early Learning and Childcare. In the process, we’ll create thousands of childcare spaces and hundreds of stable, professional jobs. Why wouldn’t we do the latter?” said Neria Aylward, Executive Director of the Jimmy Pratt Foundation.

“In neighbouring provinces, governments have introduced pensions and benefits for ECEs. As demand grows for affordable and accessible childcare in Newfoundland and Labrador, the provincial government must prioritize the well-being of childcare workers and ensure that compensation and working conditions are not a deterrent to staying in or joining the childcare field,” said Jessica McCormick, President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour.

Fast Facts on ECEs:

  • 90% are disappointed that the wage grid did not include a benefits package.
  • 83% do not have a pension.
  • 57% do not have health or dental insurance.
  • 42% are planning to leave the field because of low wages.
  • 65% report that if they need to take a day off due to illness, there is no one to replace them.
  • 45% are considering leaving the field due to a lack of professional recognition.

Progress on expansion of $10-a-day childcare has been much too slow in Newfoundland and Labrador because our childcare system is missing a key ingredient: workers. Early Childhood Educators have post-secondary training that equips them to deliver age-appropriate, high quality educational programs for young children. Without ECEs, there are no programs. If we are to meet the provincial government’s own targets, Newfoundland and Labrador will need at least 1000 new ECEs by 2026. Based on these survey results, unless working conditions improve, this target will remain far out of reach.

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