Quebec to hire thousands more early childhood educators
The unprecedented lack of educators in different CPEs has prompted the provincial government to step up efforts in hiring more of them, as announced by the Minister of Family, Mathieu Lacombe and Jean Boulet, Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity and Minister of Immigration, Francisation and Integration. The measures announced are expected to cost $300 million and are aimed at recruiting 18,000 new educators, in addition to qualifying another 7,000 already in the current system by 2026.
“For the first time since the network was created 25 years ago, the government is taking concrete action to attract new people to this exceptional profession, which is essential not only for our children, but for all of society,” said Minister Lacombe. “These measures are in addition to the historic agreements reached with the unions a few weeks ago to improve working conditions in our childcare centres.”
In an attempt to attract more people in the field, students enrolled in a childcare program leading to a college diploma will be eligible for the new Perspective Québec bursary program, announced as part of Opération main-d'œuvre on November 30, 2021. As of September 2022, any student who completes the required number of credits for a full-time session will receive a $1,500 bursary, for a maximum total of $9,000 over the course of their studies.
“The essence of Opération main-d’oeuvre is to double the efforts by multiplying the solutions to counter the labour shortage that exists, particularly in essential services,” added Minister Boulet. “In the case of early childhood, the needs are very important, but I am convinced that with all the means deployed, particularly the many support measures for training and skills development of the ministry, we will be able to reach our objective.”
Starting this spring, financial support will be provided to employers to promote the recognition of prior learning and competencies leading to an Attestation of College Studies. The subsidy will allow employees to complete missing training and prepare for their assessments while keeping a link with their employers.
Another measure is the offering of a centralized certification of qualification service as of next fall to all workers who wish to have their qualification recognized. The service will allow those who wish to do so to obtain a permanent certificate of qualification more quickly. Among other options that will be available is a short training course of approximately 90 hours that prepares participants for early employment as unqualified child care workers, including first aid and content on early childhood education and health and safety. Participants in this training may be eligible, under certain conditions, for the temporary income support enhancement for training, in the form of a $475 per week stipend. This training will be part of a longer pathway to qualification and will be offered throughout the college system. The first groups are expected to begin in March 2022.
One of the other measures in the plan is the provision of a 6.6 per cent wage premium for returning retirees. This measure will be temporary and will be in effect until March 2023.