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New money for childcare workers



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By Courtenay Modeste [2]

BELLEVILLE – Premier Kathleen Wynne announced on Monday that there will be an increase in wages [3] for early childhood educators and front line care professionals in licensed child care. The Ontario government is implementing a dollar wage increase.

Loyalist College Early Childhood Education professor Jennifer deGroot has been looking forward to this raise for a long time.

“This was promised in the last Ontario budget and we a very happy about that for a number of reason,” she said.

Many of deGroot’s students also feel the raise will big plus in their future. Taylor Brake feels that because of the raise, the quality of the daycare environment will be increased there will be less turnover in the profession. That’s important, she says, because the relationship between a child and his or hers ECE worker is very important for positive outcomes in a child’s health and behaviour future.

Rebecca Bolton is another ECE student.

“They say if you want to make money this isn’t the career for you, but actually with I think it’s going to get a lot better,” she explained.

The increase will help bridge the gap between educators with the same skills and responsibilities who work in different environments. Right now, someone who works in a daycare compared to someone in a school makes significantly less money. An ECE worker can make anywhere from $11.28 an hour to a little under $26. The highest paid ECE workers are in school.

As an advocate for ECE workers, deGroot believe that the increase doesn’t address the real issue.

In places all over Europe and Quebec, universal childcare is slowly becoming the norm. Universal childcare is an essentially a system where things like after school programs and daycare become paid by taxes, like public school. ECE workers across the country would get paid on a salary grid and all families would be able to access affordable childcare.

Promised in the Liberal budget in 2006, the issue became less prominent after Prime Minster Stephen Harper and the Conservatives came into power.

“We have been fighting for this for a very long time,” deGroot explains.

But not everyone agrees that universal childcare is something Canada needs.

According to Jonas Himmelstrand author and founder of Mireja Institute [4] and author of the article “Universal daycare leaves Sweden’s children less educated [5]” published in the National Post, Canadians should think carefully before they look to other counties as models for childcare.

In the article Himmelstrand talks a lot about Sweden and what has happened with the universal childcare system.

In Sweden parental leave is 16 months, meaning there are no infants in daycare.

Himmelstrand says parents only pay a small part of daycare fees. The government subsidies daycares by using tax dollars. The tax system in Sweden is designed to have a both parents at work, because Swedish taxpayers are among the highest in the world.

As a result, according to Himmelstrand many Swedish health-care professionals say that a lack of involvement from parents after 16 months in their child’s care, is a contributing factor to negative outcomes in children and adolescents in areas of health and behaviour.