An NCLGA resolution seeking a minimum wage of $25/hour for early childhood educators will be submitted by the City of Williams Lake.
Council agreed to approve the submission of the resolution at this past Tuesday’s regular meeting.
“This a catalyst that I think our community has committed to in supporting the early childhood education sector,” said Councillor Scott Nelson. “What we’ve said is that we think there should be minimum pay of $25/hr and that it should be subsidized through a pool of funds from the province and that this sector should be given the status as in other areas. It’s like a red seal and there’s nothing more important than our children in the entire world, so we need to calibrate that and notch it up a little bit and I think this is an extraordinarily innovative way of pushing that opportunity up there and guaranteeing a higher income for somebody.”
Thanking Economic Development Officer Beth Veenkamp and her group including Laurie Walters and Irene Willsie, Nelson added every community is in the same situation as Williams Lake and that he believes it is a creative solution that will work provincially if they can get the province to buy into it.
Councillor Jason Ryll says as a governmental body this is how they use the tools that are available to them to advocate for industries, businesses, and communities at large to converse and work injunction with other communities who are most likely facing the same issues.
“We continue to hear on a weekly basis of how dire straits those staffing levels are,” Ryll said. “We’re doing everything we can to try and make sure that these bruises, if you will, in our labor force continue to be pushed on so that they receive the treatment that’s needed and we’re using those tools that are available to us to try and advocate for our communities on their behalf.”
The resolution also seeks to lobby the province to address the gender-biased systems that place an unequal requirement on entrants into the early childhood education profession in comparison to other sectors.
“What makes this so unique is that you’ve delved in deeper and you’re touching on that gender basis, and that is something that other communities I am willing to bet are not willing to touch,” Councillor Marnie Brenner said. “This is going to show that Williams Lake is not afraid and that we’re breaking out of old habits and an old mold. It shows Williams Lake is progressive, Williams Lake is willing to change, and this is going to set our application and when we talk to Ministers apart.”
The 2020 NCLGA AGM and Convention runs May 13-15th in Prince George.