Support for early childhood professionals

Early childhood professionals provide care, connection and learning environments for our children at some of the most important times in their lives and help prepare 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: October 30, 2023

Beginning in January 2024, Early Childhood Educators working at eligible licensed child care facilities can receive a wage lift of $2 per hour based on hours worked in December 2023. This is the most recent in a series of increases to the Early Childhood Educator Wage Enhancement, bringing the total wage enhancement to $6 per hour. The total wage enhancement will increase the median wage for Early Childhood Educators up to about $28 per hour.

And in early 2024, eligible Early Childhood Educators can apply for the new Early Childhood Educator Specialized Certification Grant to recognize specialized education. Those with Infant Toddler or Special Needs certificates, also known as “specialized” or “post-basic” certificates, will be eligible to receive the grant.

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Wage enhancement

Certified Early Childhood Educators directly employed by and working in eligible licensed child care facilities can receive a $6 per hour wage enhancement. This is the fourth wage enhancement offered to Early Childhood Educators 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 Early Childhood Educators in British Columbia. As this work will take time to get right, the wage enhancement is an important step towards ensuring Early Childhood Educators are recognized as professionals and fairly compensated for their important work.

ECE Specialized Certification Grant

Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) with specialized education are important to making sure British Columbians have access to quality, inclusive child care. In January 2024, ECEs with Infant Toddler Educator or Special Needs Educator certificates, also known as “specialized” or “post-basic” certificates, will be eligible to receive the annual ECE Specialized Certification Grant. These grants will be available to eligible ECEs for the next three years. ECEs holding both specialized certificates will be eligible for a $3,000 payment, while those holding one specialized certificate will be eligible for $2,000.  

This annual grant will recognize all ECEs holding at least one specialized certificate currently working with children from birth to age five in licensed child care or Aboriginal Head Start child care program, who have been working in the child care sector for at least 12 months. For example, ECEs applying for the grant in January 2024 would need to show that they have worked in the child care sector since at least January 2023.

An applicant may only receive one grant per year. ECEs who receive the $2,000 grant for one specialized certificate and then upgrade their skills to hold both specialized certificates will qualify for the $3,000 grant the following year. Those ECEs without either certification that receive one or both designations during the year will qualify for the grant upon meeting the other eligibility requirements.

This grant recognizes child care professionals already working in the sector that have one or both specialized certificates and encourages others to pursue upgrading their credentials.

The grant will be administered and distributed through the Early Childhood Educators of BC. More information on eligibility and how to apply will be available in the coming weeks.

Early Childhood Educator certification and education

Becoming certified as an Early Childhood Educator in B.C. requires the successful completion of an Early Childhood Educator education program recognized by the Early Childhood Educator Registry, or a program deemed equivalent.

Government is funding new Early Childhood Educator 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 Early Childhood Educator programs that are delivered through a work-integrated learning model, enabling students to obtain Early Childhood Educator education while remaining employed in the sector.

Contact the Early Childhood Educator 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.

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.

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:

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.

Professional development

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:

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.