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Ontario child-care workers to get pay hike this year and next

By Elliot Ferguson, Kingston Whig-Standard

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. (Michael Peake/QMI Agency)

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. (Michael Peake/QMI Agency)

KINGSTON, Ont. - 

Ontario’s child-care workers will get a $1-an-hour wage increase this year and another $1-an-hour hike next year.

Premier Kathleen Wynne announced the increase Monday for eligible child-care workers at licensed daycares.

The pay raise is expected to cost the province $269 million over three years.

“The foundation of our economic plan is investment in people’s talents and skills in this province,” Wynne said. “Within that, the people who are working with our very youngest children are really establishing a future economic prosperity for the province.”

A pay raise for Ontario’s child-care workers had been promised by the Wynne government and was included twice in budgets. It was part of the budget whose defeat toppled Wynne’s minority government in early May.

After the Liberal’s won a majority government in June, the pay raise was part of the government’s re-introduced budget in July.

NDP MPP Peter Tabuns said early child-care workers are notoriously underpaid given the value of their labour and will no doubt welcome the pay packet boost.

“But I point out that we still are suffering a really huge shortage of registered licensed child-care spaces, that parents are really desperate to get their kids into spaces and that we have a huge affordability problem in Ontario,” Tabuns said.

“So it’s a very small piece of a very big puzzle that the Liberals haven’t been addressing.”

Many child-care centres have struggled with the arrival of full-day kindergarten, and some have already closed their doors, he said.

The NDP pushed the then-minority Wynne government to provide funding to help with the transition, he said.

Parents of young children continue to struggle to find and pay for licensed daycare, Tabuns said.

— With files from Antonella Artuso


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