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Early Childhood Educator Wage Enhancements - Directions to Community Social Services Employers


As part of the Provincial Government’s Early Care and Learning Recruitment and Retention Strategy, front-line Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) working in eligible licensed child care facilities receiving Child Care Operating Funding (CCOF) will be eligible to receive a $2 per hour increase to their ECE Wage Enhancement (ECE WE), bringing the total wage enhancement to up to $4 per hour. This increase follows the $1 per hour increase that was available as of September 1, 2018, and the additional $1 per hour increase that was effective April 1, 2020. Additional funding for Statutory Benefits[1] has been, and will continue to be provided. The $2 per hour increase to the ECE WE will be effective in March 2022, with payments retroactive to hours worked from September 1, 2021.

Front-line ECEs (as defined in the Funding Guidelines, including those who are also owner/operators of a licensed child care facility, are eligible for the wage enhancement if they are directly employed by a licensed child care facility that:

  • Receives Child Care Operating Funding (CCOF) and has opted in to the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative (CCFRI) if eligible to do so;
  • Receives Child Care Operating Funding (CCOF) but is not eligible for CCFRI funding (i.e., preschools, school age facilities that do not have continuous kindergarten enrolments, and facilities that do not charge parent fees); or
  • Has been approved as a Universal Child Care Prototype Site.

CSSEA member employers who meet these criteria may not receive sufficient provincial funding for these programs and positions such that the parties to the collective Agreements treat them as Non-Provincially Funded Positions (“NPF”) under Part D of Appendix A – Wage Grid. Part D requires the parties to negotiate the terms and conditions of employment that apply to these positions.

There are also some CSSEA member employers that operate programs under the Provincial Government’s Universal Child Care Prototype Sites program, piloting the delivery of $10-a-Day child care. The Prototype Sites are also eligible for ECE WE increases.

Some employers who have non-provincially funded positions have used other sources of funding to apply the terms of the sectoral Collective Agreements to eligible positions in full. These employers will still receive the ECE WE for these positions. With significant compensation increases being granted under the Collective Agreements between 2019 and 2021, the parties may need to renegotiate the wage and benefit levels for these positions.

Other CSSEA member employers may be sufficiently funded provincially such that their ECE programs and positions are already governed by the terms of one of the sectoral Collective Agreements.

Employers not currently enrolled in ECE WE are advised to apply as soon as possible if they are interested in participating in this most recent increase to the ECE WE. The $2/hour increase will be available retroactive to as early as September 1, 2021, or to a later month based on the month in which an employer submits an application and is approved to enroll. Employers enrolled in the ECE WE will receive a lump sum payment in March 2022 for any hours worked by an eligible ECE during the retroactive period. For providers enrolling in the ECE WE for the first time, outside of the retroactive period for the new $2 per hour increase, an approved provider can begin to receive the current/existing $2 per hour ECE WE, as of their opt-in month.


Based on this background, CSSEA employers’ programs, sites, and positions fall into one of the following four categories. Employers may operate multiple programs, sites, and positions resulting in more than one category applying to them. The employers in each category are listed below.

1. NPF positions that are eligible for the Provincial ECE Wage Enhancement and are not covered by the wages and/or benefits of the sectoral Collective Agreement

These employers employ eligible positions that have not been covered by the wage and/or benefits of the sectoral Collective Agreement, and will be applying the $2/hour wage enhancement.

The ECE WE also includes 19% for statutory benefits. According to the funding guidelines. Some negotiations may be necessary to factor in any unanticipated costs associated with wage-impacted benefits, such as sick leave and LTD premiums where they exist. The parties agree that the ECE wage enhancements should not result in compensation that exceeds the sectoral collective agreement.

A memorandum of agreement should be agreed upon between the parties to address the eligible employees’ terms and conditions of employment. All NPF Agreements must be approved by CSSEA and the Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA).

2. NPF Universal Child Care Prototype Sites

Eligible positions will receive compensation increases, with the exact amounts still being investigated. A memorandum of agreement should be agreed upon between the parties to address the eligible employees’ terms and conditions of employment

3. NPF Employers that have paid the wages and/or benefits of the sectoral Collective Agreement

Some employers have found other funding sources in order to apply the terms of the sectoral Collective Agreement wages and/or benefits to these positions.

While these Employers have, to date, aimed to pay at collective agreement levels, if they cannot find the funding to keep pace with the increases to the Collective Agreements, they can access Part D of Appendix A.

4. The positions are supported by sufficient provincial funding such that they are already covered by the sectoral collective agreement in full and are not considered “NPF”

These positions are not eligible for the Provincial Wage Enhancement as they are instead receiving the increases granted under the sectoral collective agreement. No action under this provincial initiative for employers in this category is required.

Note: NPF employers with positions that are NOT Eligible for ECE Wage Enhancements (no action required)


Negotiations leading to an MOA for positions falling into Categories 1 to 3 above must be concluded to better understand terms and conditions of employment as well as to facilitate the funding process with Government.

The bargaining agents (CSSEA and the CSSBA) provide the following template to assist employers and their unions in arriving at an MOA. The bargaining agents must also approve and sign the MOAs.

The template MOA can be found here.

If you have any questions, please contact your HRLR Consultant or Advocate.

[1] MCFD currently provides 19% to cover a provider’s Statutory Benefits costs; the percentage provided is adjusted annually, based on the updated numbers for CPP/EI/WCB.

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Doris Sun
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