The B.C. government announced Friday that the federal government will be providing the province with a one-time payment of $49.2 million that will be used to train and recruit early childhood educators.
According to the provincial government, $25 million will be allocated to providing ECE students with bursaries over the next three to four years, $11.6 million will be allocated to the development and delivery of a recruitment and retention incentive program, $7.5 million will be earmarked for professional development, $1.5 million will be for a dual credit program for high school students.
Another $2.3 million will be set aside for a work-integrated approach that gives ECE students the opportunity to become certified while maintaining employment as a child care professional while the remainder will be used to cover the costs associated with translating francophone ECE credentials or those from other countries to help certify new B.C. residents who want to work in early childhood education.
Katrina Chen, the province’s Minister of State for Child Care, called the funding “critical” for recruiting and supporting early childhood care workers.
“We cannot deliver without the skilled professionals who are caring for our children at the most important time of their lives. Early childhood educators, education, passion and skills are in high demand and we are going to need thousands of childcare professionals,” she said.
More than 10,000 job openings are anticipated for early childhood educators and assistants in B.C. over the coming decade.
Chen said the provincial government is also working on a wage grid for ECEs and creating a more inclusive childcare system. She also said the government recognizes how important early childcare educators are to the overall economy.
“Parents like me know how the work of early childhood educators is so critical to our economy, to enable us to return and stay in the workforce,” said Chen, later adding. “Too often, when families can not find affordable child-care, it is women who lose out the most work and educational opportunities.”
A total of 26,000 child-care spaces have been created in B.C. since 2018, according to the provincial government, which expects that figure to increase to more than 50,000 spaces by 2028.
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