This is an IMPORTANT Announcement Regarding: AHS ECE – Wage Enhancement Equivalent (AHS ECE-WEE) Retroactive Funding for 2022-2023. For EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS who work in Aboriginal Head Start Programs in BC funded through AHSABC.
Recruiting and retaining a skilled, knowledgeable Early Childhood Educator (ECE) workforce is a key factor in implementing the ChildCareBC and Growing AHS in BC Plan. Improving the recruitment and retention of ECEs contributes to enhancing the overall quality of Aboriginal Head Start (AHS) programs throughout British Columbia, ensuring that more Indigenous children and families have access to quality AHS child care in their community.
The Province of BC’s ECE Wage Enhancement (ECE-WE) is part of a broader Early Care and Learning Recruitment and Retention Strategy to support the development of a stable, qualified, and skilled professional ECE workforce, and recognizes early care and learning as a sustainable and valued career. Growing AHS in BC Child Care Programs have to date not been eligible for the ECE-WE.
The Growing AHS in BC agreement with the Province is intended to:
Provide operational funding amounts that fully support staffing and programming for early learning and care, family support and inclusion. Healthy funding models allow programs to operate independent of other Ministry child care programs such as the Affordable Child Care Benefit, Child Care Operating Fund, Early Childhood Educator Wage Enhancement program, and the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative.
Recognize the delivery of quality early learning depends on ECEs and as such ECEs in AHS programs must be well educated, respected and fairly compensated. Compensation for qualified ECE personnel in AHS programs currently starts at a minimum of $26 per hour, plus benefits.
In 2021, when the Province increased the ECE-WE to $4 / hour, there was a significant impact on AHS programs in BC. AHS ECE staff, with a minimum pay of $25 / hour (at that time), were now no longer in alignment with fellow ECE professionals who work outside of AHS programs. This exclusion from the ECE-WE then put AHS programs at a disadvantage and challenged AHS programs in recruiting and retaining qualified staff for their programs.
AHSABC has been working closely with the Province to correct this disparity by advocating for an AHS ECE Wage Enhancement Equivalent (AHS ECE-WEE) and has been approved to use the 2022-2023 underspend in Growing AHS Operating funds to support a First-Time, wage top up of $4 / hour for eligible AHS ECE employees, for hours worked in 2022-2023, who work AHS programs.
Note we are identifying this AHS ECE-WEE funding as a First-Time wage top up, rather than a One-Time top up to reflect the efforts and advocacy underway to provide the AHS ECE-WEE ongoing. Therefore, once the 2022-2023 funding has been administered we will work with AHS organizations and the Province to review and plan for ongoing resources as part of annual operating costs. Stay tuned for updates on the progress of these developments.
2. Who is Eligible?
Receipt of the AHS ECE-WEE is dependent upon the following 2 factors:
Eligibility of the Organization as a fully funded Growing AHS in BC Child Care Centre with AHSABC, signified by having a current Contribution Agreement between AHSABC and themselves; and
Eligibility as current AHS ECE Employees of the Organization, who were employed during the 2022-2023 fiscal year.
Organizations must currently be receiving AHS Operating funds from AHSABC in order to receive the AHS ECE-WEE. Organizations must apply on behalf of their eligible AHS ECE Employees.
AHS ECE Eligibility:
To be eligible, AHS ECEs must:
Hold a valid Early Childhood Educator, Infant and Toddler Educator, and / or Special Needs Educator certificate issued by the BC ECE Registry, which has not expired, been suspended, or cancelled, for the time period being compensated for, and include copies of certification for each eligible ECE.
Be in Good Standing with the BC ECE Registry.
Be an AHS ECE Employee who is directly employed on a full-time, part-time or substitute basis by an eligible Organization, from as early as April 2022 up to and including March 2023.
Continue to be employed as an ECE and working in the same AHS program.
Be an AHS ECE working as an Aboriginal Supported Child Development (ASCD) Worker who is directly employed by an eligible Organization and has qualifying employment hours in the AHSABC funded AHS program during the noted time period.
Have an hourly wage in 2022-2023 Fiscal Year that was $31* or less.
*Note – Program Coordinators / Leads who have ECE certification and spend 50% of their time frontline are eligible.
Staff that are ineligible to receive the AHS ECE-WEE include individuals who do not hold active ECE certification issued by the BC ECE Registry and / or who are not directly employed by a fully funded Growing AHS in BC Child Care Centre with AHSABC. Ineligible individuals include, but are not limited to:
ECEs whose hourly wage in 2022-2023 Fiscal Year was more than $31*.
ECEs working as Supported Child Development Consultants.
SCD / ASCD Workers who are employed and paid by SCD / ASCD programs directly and assigned or deployed to the AHS Licensed Child Care Facility.
Volunteer (unpaid) staff.
ECEs who are employed as independent contractors.
Other non-ECE staff.
AHSABC recognizes that ECE Assistants and all Early Care and Learning Professionals are important to the sector and support the overall provision of quality care.
At this time, however, eligibility for the AHS ECE-WEE is limited to certified ECEs.
AHSABC and the Provincial Government are responding first to the most urgent needs within the sector. This includes increasing ECE staffing and responding to the critical need for trained and qualified ECEs, as well as improving families’ access to affordable child care.
In addition, the purpose of targeting this AHS ECE-WEE to certified AHS ECEs is to encourage more individuals to obtain their certification.
The intent of the AHS ECE-WEE is to support ECEs working in fully funded Growing AHS in BC Child Care Centres with AHSABC.
Fully funded Growing AHS in BC Child Care Centre with AHSABC Facilities that choose to employ a higher number of ECEs than what is required under the Child Care Licensing Regulation are eligible to report Hours Worked by all ECEs currently employed at the facility throughout the identified time period, regardless of staffing ratio.
Eligible Organizations that employ unionized AHS ECEs may be eligible, provided they have reached a local agreement with their union to amend their collective agreements to implement the AHS ECE-WEE.
This AHS ECE-WEE will be a First-Time payment for hours worked in FY 2022-2023 to help support wage parity with ECEs elsewhere in BC.
The AHS ECE-WEE payment to the organizations includes an allowance for employee benefits.
3. AHS ECE-WEE Administration compensation:
AHSABC recognizes that this First-Time AHS ECE-WEE funding requires additional administration time and commitment that is not part of our regular reporting requirements and uses organization resources that were not planned and committed. Therefore, administrative compensation is allowable for 5% of the total payable AHS ECE-WEE calculation.
E.g., Total AHS ECE-WEE hours = 1560 x $4 / hour = $6240
15% MERC = $936
5% Admin compensation = $6240 + $936 = $7117 x 5% = $359
Total AHS ECE-WEE + Benefits & Admin compensation = $6240+$936+$359 = $7535
4. How to apply for the AHS ECE-WEE Funding for your Early Childhood Educators in your fully funded AHS Child Care Centre with AHSABC:
Complete the required application forms.
Provide all supporting documentation for all eligible employees.
Sign confirmation that all funds will go towards eligible AHS ECEs based on actual hours worked (not including holidays, sick leave, or other leave types) at the approved rate of $4 per hour.
The AHS ECE-WEE cannot be used to replace wages or scheduled wage increases, nor can it be reduced to less than $4 per hour.
The AHS ECE-WEE must be shown as having been paid directly to eligible staff, should an audit of the program be required.
Send in all forms and supporting documents to firstname.lastname@example.org before August 21st, 2023 @noon.
5. Important dates and timeline:
Application forms will be shared with all eligible organizations by Friday, June 9, 2023.
Deadline to apply for the AHS ECE-WEE is August 21st, 2023 @ Noon.
Review of applications will happen as they are received at the AHSABC office.
Payment processing deadline by AHSABC is September 25h, 2023.
6. More Information
Reach out to your AHSABC Advisor for more information and support in completing your application.