A standard minimum wage of $25 an hour for early childhood educators (ECE) would help address the chronic shortage across the province, says Williams Lake city council.
That’s the gist of a resolution up for consideration from the City of Williams Lake for the 2020 Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention which will be held online from Sept. 22 to 24.
Mayor Walt Cobb and Coun. Sheila Boehm are attending the convention virtually on behalf of city council and Boehm will speak to the resolution.
“We all know there is an early childhood educator shortage nation wide,” Boehm said after the council meeting Tuesday, Sept. 15.
“This has been brought forward to government many times, it isn’t anything new, but our focus is on the wage because, unfortunately there is a huge wage inequity when it comes to a lot of female-dominated professions, especially for our early childhood educators.”
Boehm said ECEs don’t make as much as someone in the trades will make after a couple of years of education.
The lower wage is part of the problem for developing any day cares and hiring employees.
“We actually have ECEs in our community who are choosing to work at grocery stores,” she added.
Wording of the resolution goes on to promote that UBCM lobby the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training to address the gender-biased systems that place an equal requirement on entrants into the ECE profession in comparison to other sectors, particularly when compared to trades education.
During the meeting council voted unanimously in favour of providing additional information on the resolution to UBCM members through an e-mail before voting occurs during the convention.
To date the UBCM executive received the resolution but has not recommended whether it should be endorsed.
“Until we can bring up wages we are not going to get staff and without early childhood educators we don’t have any spaces for our doctors, teachers, anyone who wants to move to town. The first thing they will look for is if there is child care available,” Boehm said.
In an information letter signed by Mayor Cobb, to send out about the resolution, it states that Williams Lake recently completed a Child Care Needs Assessment and Action Plan that showed current wages in ECEs in B.C. range from $16 to $22 an hour.