VANCOUVER, B.C. – The provincial government announced today that thousands of childcare workers across B.C. will be getting wage boosts and new supports through the Province’s ChildCare BC plan.

The B.C. government said today that it will be spending $136 million to support the new Early Care and Learning Recruitment and Retention Strategy, which will help support early childhood educators by providing wage enhancements, on-the-job training opportunities and other measures.

The federal government announced that it would be providing $16.3 million in funding for bursaries and professional development.

“Early childhood educators are the heart of B.C.’s child care system, and their passion and dedication are key to setting B.C. kids on the path to future success,” said Katrine Conroy, B.C.’s Minister of Children and Family Development. “As we build new licensed child care spaces, we know that we also need to build the ECE workforce. Our government appreciates the important work early childhood educators do every day, and with this strategy, we aim to support ECEs throughout their career – because when we invest in child care, everyone benefits.”

Through the new strategy, the B.C. government aims to encourage more people to become or stay on career paths as early childhood educators. By improving recruitment and retention, the government said that more B.C. families will have access to stable child care programs. Child care providers have cited lack of qualified early childhood educators as a key hiring challenge in recent years.

Under the new strategy childcare workers at licensed facilities that have been approved for the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative will be getting a $1-per-hour raise early next year, with another $1-per-hour raise in April 2020.

A $10-million investment to fund an expanded ECE Education Support Fund was also announced to provide increased ECE Student bursaries and a new payment schedule to reimburse students sooner.

Under ChildCare BC, the government says it will be spending more than $1 billion on child care over the next three years.