The Ontario government announced an increase in the minimum wage for Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs) from $20 to $23.86 per hour.
On November 16, 2023, Ontario’s Education Minister Stephen Lecce released his child-care workforce strategy Thursday and announced a raise in the minimum hourly wage for Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs). The increase in minimum wage is $3.86 per hour, raising the wage from $20 to $23.8.
According to Global News, Lecce said in an interview:
“We have a ton of workers, who in a world of choices, you could work in a school making 15, 18, 20 per cent more, often people will pursue those options and we’re seeing a bit of a cannibalization of our ECEs from our child-care centres into our kindergarten programs”Education Minister Stephen Lecce
Key Benefits of the Wage Increase
Starting in 2024, Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs) will see their minimum wages rise from $20 to $23.86 per hour. This $3.86 per hour increase in Ontario minimum wage aligns the wages of beginner RECEs with the living wages in most Ontario regions, except the Greater Toronto Area.
- Improved Financial Stability: This Ontario minimum wage increase provides RECEs with a more suitable income, helping them to meet their basic living expenses more easily.
- Attracting New Talent: Higher wages are expected to attract more individuals to the early childhood education profession, addressing the shortages in the sector.
- Retention of Experienced Educators: The minimum wage increase is likely to retain existing educators, who are important for delivering quality early learning experiences to children.
Strategy for Child Care Workforce
The Ontario government isn’t just stopping at wage increases. They have laid out a five-point child-care workforce strategy to increase the childcare workforce and protect children, starting in 2024:
- Raising Starting Wages: Increasing the minimum wage for RECEs to $23.86/hour.
- Extended Raise Eligibility: More RECEs can now benefit from a $1/hour raise.
- Career Development Support: Helping educators in entering and advancing in the profession.
- Employer Benefits: Reduced bureaucracy and more staffing flexibility for employers.
- Public Relations Campaign: Aiming to boost the recognition and value of the childcare profession.
Wage Floor Adjustments for ECEs:
ECEs earning more than the wage floor but less than $25 per hour were eligible for a $1-per-hour annual increase.
Starting next year, ECEs earning up to $26 per hour will be eligible for this increase. The eligibility ceiling will rise to $27 per hour in 2025 and $28 per hour in 2026.
Changes for ECE Supervisors:
Supervisors earning less than $29 per hour will qualify for the wage increase.
The eligibility ceiling for supervisors will increase to $30 per hour in 2025 and $31 per hour in 2026.
Additional Workforce Strategy Elements:
Allocation of $18.5 million annually to establish a dedicated professional development day for ECEs.
Doubling of funding, from $2 million to $4 million per year, for programs that help non-ECE child-care staff in getting an ECE diploma. This includes covering tuition costs and other related expenses.
Affect On Childcare In Ontario
There are over 473,000 licensed childcare places in Ontario, with more than 5,500 childcare centers and 145 home childcare organizations licensed by the province. The increase in minimum wage and strategic initiatives are expected to affect these facilities and the families they serve positively.
Enhancements for Ontario Families
- Reduced Childcare Fees: Families in Ontario are already experiencing a 50% reduction in fees, resulting in significant annual savings.
- New Licensed Spaces: More families have access to childcare thanks to the ongoing construction of 86,000 new licensed spaces.
- Parental Choice Support: The initiatives support various childcare options, respecting parental choice.
Current Ontario Minimum Wage
As of October 1, 2023, the minimum wage in Ontario is $16.55 per hour.
- Greater Toronto Area: $25.05
- Grey Bruce Perth Huron Simcoe: $22.75
- Dufferin Waterloo Guelph-Wellington: $20.90
- Brant Niagara Haldimand Norfolk: $20.35
- North: $19.80
- Ottawa: $21.95
- East: $20.60
- Hamilton: $20.80
- Southwest: $18.65
- London Elgin Oxford: $18.85
The living wage reflects the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet basic needs without government assistance. This increase for RECEs is a significant step towards ensuring that educators can live comfortably on their earnings.