Support for early childhood professionals
Early childhood professionals play a critical role in caring for and preparing kids for the future.
Released in 2018, the Early Care and Learning Recruitment and Retention Strategy sets out our plan to improve supports for professionals in the child care sector. Government continues to provide support for current and prospective early childhood professionals through a variety of programs and initiatives.
Last updated: December 9, 2022
On this page:
- Early childhood educator education
- ECE Education Support Fund
- Other education funding
- ECE certification
- Provincial Nominee Program
- Professional development
- Wage enhancement
- Early learning and child care engagement
Early childhood educator education
Becoming certified as an Early Childhood Educator (ECE) in B.C. requires the successful completion of an ECE education program recognized by the ECE Registry, or a program deemed equivalent.
Government is funding new ECE seats at B.C. public post-secondary institutions, ranging from part-time certificates to full-time diplomas. Depending on the program, studies can be completed in-person, online, or through a hybrid approach. Government is also investing in public post-secondary ECE programs that are delivered through a work-integrated learning model, enabling students to obtain ECE education while remaining employed in the sector.
ECE Education Support Fund
Since 2018, the Province has provided funding through the Early Learning and Child Care Agreement with the Government of Canada to the Early Childhood Educators of BC to administer the ECE Education Support Fund. This fund provides bursaries to students studying in ECE programs at recognized post-secondary institutions.
- Learn more about the ECE Education Support Fund
Other education funding
There are many other government and non-government funding programs to help students complete their ECE education and ensure employers and communities have a pool of educated professionals to draw from.
Learn more about other funding programs:
- WorkBC – Finance Your Education
- B.C. Employer Training Grant
- Community Workforce Response Grant
- Single Parent Employment Initiative
- Columbia Basin Trust Early Childhood Educator Training Wage Program
- Youth Empowered Speakers Program (First People’s Cultural Council) – ECE stream
- Métis Nation B.C. funding and support for ECE education
Contact the ECE Registry to apply for, renew, or validate a certificate. If you have completed your education outside of B.C., you may be eligible for additional supports
Provincial Nominee Program
The Province is prioritizing ECEs under the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). ECEs with a qualified, permanent job offer in B.C. are given priority access to apply for permanent residency under the PNP, creating an immigration pathway for ECEs and helping employers secure qualified staff.
Staying current on the latest research and best practice is important for early childhood professionals to continue to offer the best level of care and learning to B.C. children. In partnership with other organizations, government has expanded provincewide access to professional development opportunities through investments in bursaries, in-person and online courses, workshops, conferences, and peer-mentoring.
Learn more about professional development opportunities:
- BC Early Years Professional Development Hub
- Resources to Support Inclusive Child Care
- ECE Professional Development Bursary Fund
- Peer Mentoring Program for Early Childhood Educators in British Columbia
- Early Childhood Pedagogy Network
- First Nations Pedagogies Network
- Upcoming child care workshops through the Child Care Resource and Referral Centres
Certified ECEs directly employed by and working in licensed child care facilities are eligible to receive a $4 per hour wage enhancement. This is the third provincially funded wage enhancement offered to ECEs since September 2018.
A key goal under the ChildCareBC Plan is addressing long-standing compensation issues in the sector. Through a partnership with the Government of Canada, the Province has committed to developing and implementing a wage grid for ECEs in British Columbia. As this work will take time to get right, the wage enhancement is an important step towards ensuring ECEs are recognized as professionals and fairly compensated for their important work.
- Child care providers can apply for the Early Childhood Educator Wage Enhancement
Early learning and child care engagement
British Columbia is committed to the well-being, care, and education of children. We value your input and would like to know what you think is most critical as we continue to evolve early learning and child care in British Columbia.