Child-care workers march on Education Department for better compensation

Marchers hoped to talk with Schooling Minister Becky Druhan, however she did not present

Early childhood educators marched on Wednesday morning to advocate for dwelling wages, retroactive pay, and extra incentives to retain employees.

The rally noticed roughly 50 educators for kids between 18 months to 12 years march from Halifax’s Parade Sq. to the Division of Schooling. They wished to talk to Becky Druhan, the provincial minister of training and early childhood improvement.

This got here two days after Druhan introduced more fee reductions for child care and the day earlier than the deadline for child-care operators to use for retroactive pay for his or her staff.

“It’s unsatisfactory. What we had wished was for the extent ones to begin at a dwelling wage after which transfer up from there. And what occurred is that they gave the extent ones $19.10, which was the wage flooring in 2015. And folks making $19 an hour? That’s not a dwelling wage,” organizer Heather Cameron mentioned at Grand Parade earlier than the rally.

Cameron organized an identical rally in September earlier than the pay scale for ECEs was launched. She mentioned that rally was in response to the provincial authorities’s gradual launch of the brand new pay scale.

Wednesday was totally different.

Cameron mentioned the brand new pay scale is disappointing and doesn’t encourage folks to remain within the subject. She has labored as an ECE for 27 years and mentioned she has “seen so many individuals come and go and are available and go as a result of they only can’t reside on what they’re making.”

A woman holding a sign that says "No ECEs left behind!"
Shauna MacMullin, an early childhood educator and one of many organizers of Wednesday’s  rally, says she’s annoyed by the ignorance from the federal government on advantages being made out there to her career.   Angela Capobianco

Wednesday’s rally was a part of a national effort by ECEs to advocate for higher work situations and compensation. ECEs in Halifax rallied to have their wages begin on the dwelling wage for his or her respective areas.

In Halifax, that’s $23.50 an hour, based on a report from the Canadian Centre for Coverage Options. In addition they need retroactive pay to return to January 2022 as an alternative of July, the time when the federal government decreased child-care charges. In addition they need the provincial authorities to do extra to retain employees, notably by growing compensation.

Shauna MacMullin, an ECE for 2 and a half years, mentioned the federal government plan was leaving child-care centres behind as a result of they haven’t been informed what they are going to be getting in return for signing the child-care settlement with the federal authorities.

“They haven’t informed us the entire package deal. And we don’t know what we’re getting for our charges. We don’t know what we’re getting for advantages,” she added.

In keeping with a news release in October, retirement advantages and profit plans are nonetheless within the works for ECEs, with the hopes that the venture can be carried out in 2023.

Marchers crammed the Division of Schooling entryway on Brunswick Avenue, calling for Druhan to speak to them. Shortly after arriving, constructing safety informed organizer Julianna Harnish that Druhan was not on the training division. Safety locked the doorways as Harnish referred to as for individuals to assist discover Druhan and power themselves into the constructing.

A woman in a red coat holding a megaphone.
Organizer Julianna Harnish promised as she left the Schooling Division on Wednesday that ECEs would return month-to-month till Druhan meets with them.   Angela Capobianco

A police officer eliminated marchers from the doorway and dispersed the group.

The Sign requested Druhan for an interview, however a spokesperson for the training division, Barbara MacLean, responded in an e mail. MacLean acknowledged that ECEs are crucial to youngsters’s improvement and mentioned that the federal government’s investments within the business are “a long time overdue.”

“Extra is coming for ECEs in 2023, together with well being and retirement advantages. And for the primary time ever, ECEs will obtain common wage will increase like these within the public sector,” MacLean mentioned. “We’re dedicated to persevering with to work alongside ECEs and hold them on the core of our transformative work.”

NDP MLA Sally Hansen for Halifax-Needham attended the rally. She mentioned she was heartbroken by the results of the protest.

“You understand we shouldn’t be doing this once more, three, not even three months later, we had been right here in September earlier than the announcement was rolled out. And now we’re right here … it’s not sufficient,” she mentioned in an interview following the rally.

Angela Capobianco

Angela Capobianco

Angela Capobianco (she/her) is a Halifax-born journalist. She has a Grasp’s diploma in historical past from Queen’s College and hopes to make use of her expertise from there to tell her reporting. When not writing, she may be discovered learning Russian, practising circus, and studying.

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