Susan Odell is pretty much at the top of her game when it comes to the field of early childhood education.
She’s been working at the North End Community Daycare Centre for 35 years and now makes a salary of about $30,000 which includes additional work she does in the centre’s office.
“I make the most in my centre,” she said.
Odell was one of about a dozen early childhood education professionals who gathered at the legislature yesterday evening to protest their low wages.
“The government demands that we be educated and then they don’t want to pay us,” Odell said.
Lynn Howes, president of CUPE Local 4745 which represents childcare workers, said the average pay for those in the profession is about $9 an hour, which works out to be less than the low income cut off in Canada which hovers around $22,000 a year.
“We would like to see more money coming into the childcare field,” Howes said.
Community Services Minister Judy Streatch said the government is doing a number of things to support the field of childcare.
She said the government has put $200 million into a childcare plan which takes into account recruitment and retention, expansion of spaces, increasing eligibility for subsidies, decreasing parent fees and operational grants.
“And a requirement of those dollars is that 75 per cent go directly to salaries and benefits for our very valuable childcare workers in the province,” Streatch said.