Boosting Early Childhood Educator Wages Would Propel Canadian Economy, Study Finds

Ottawa, ON, May 01, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- May 1, 2024 - A new report released on International Workers' Day by the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS), commissioned by YMCA Canada, highlights the potential for significant economic gains from increasing wages for Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) in Canada. Entitled "Addressing the Early Childhood Educator Labour Shortages in Canada: Challenges, Solutions, and Impacts,” the study provides a detailed economic analysis showing that raising wages could substantially boost the Canadian economy by attracting and retaining more qualified ECEs, increasing maternal workforce participation, and enhancing overall economic output and incomes.

Canada's recent initiative to create a Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) system aims to revolutionize child care services by reducing fees for families and creating 250,000 new child care spaces by 2026. However, the success of this ambitious program hinges on addressing the critical staffing shortage of qualified ECEs, a challenge exacerbated by the pandemic.

Key findings from the report include:

  • ECEs have low pay relative to workers with similar qualifications or doing similar work.
  • A proposed 25% wage increase for qualified ECEs could attract between 58,192 and 103,746 additional ECEs, sufficient for staffing the 250,000 new child care spaces promised in the CWELCC system.
  • Mirroring Quebec's experience, wage increases for ECEs could lead to an increase in maternal labour force participation rate of mothers with children under the age of five by 7.54 to 8.40 percentage points over five years, contributing $2.25 to $2.48 billion annually to the Canadian GDP.
  • For every dollar spent on wage increases for ECEs, up to $1.88 to $2.06 will be generated for the Canadian economy.

"These findings underscore the crucial role of ECEs in the child care sector and highlight the immense economic benefits of investing in their wages," said Peter Dinsdale, President and CEO at YMCA Canada. "By ensuring fair compensation and improving working conditions for ECEs, we not only address staffing challenges but also stimulate economic growth and support families across Canada."

According to Andrew Sharpe, Executive Director at the Centre for the Study of Living Standards, "Investing in the wages of Early Childhood Educators would not only help to address immediate workforce challenges but also generates significant economic returns. By supporting the expansion of child care services and increasing maternal labour force participation, this investment contributes to Canada's long-term economic prosperity."

The report's comprehensive analysis provides valuable insights for policymakers, child care advocates, and stakeholders invested in enhancing Canada's child care system. It emphasizes the importance of sustainable investments in the workforce to realize the full potential of universal child care initiatives.

For more information and to access the full report, visit


About Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS): 

The Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) is a national, independent, not-for-profit research organization which began operations in August 1995. Its objectives are twofold. First, to contribute to a better understanding of trends and determinants of productivity, living standards, and economic well-being in Canada through research. Second, to contribute to public debate by developing and advocating specific policies to improve the standard of living of Canadians.

For more information, please visit

Contact Information: Alisaleh Shariati, Economist, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, 226-234-6747,

About YMCA Canada: 

The YMCA is a charity that ignites the potential in over 2 million people annually, helping them grow, lead, and give back to their communities. Across Canada, the YMCA delivers a wide variety of programs and services that empower people of all ages and life stages to overcome barriers and rise to their full potential. Programs include child care, health and wellness, aquatics, employment services, immigrant settlement, camps, mental wellness, and many other community initiatives that respond to local needs. Foundational to all this is the YMCA’s commitment to creating spaces and experiences where everyone feels safe, welcome, and a sense of belonging.

The YMCA in Canada is comprised of 37 YMCA Member Associations, supported by YMCA Canada, the national office, working together so all Canadians can shine on.

For more information, please visit

Contact Information: Denise Gho, Manager, Marketing and Communications, YMCA Canada, 416-846-5576,


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