News release

Wage Increases for Early Childhood Educators; New Pension, Benefits for Child-Care Sector

Education and Early Childhood Development

Early childhood educators and employees working in licensed child-care centres will receive benefits and pensions for the first time.

The government is raising the wages of early childhood educators (ECEs) and introducing a benefits and pension package for all employees of the licensed sector.

“ECEs and support staff do incredible, valuable work and we know that a strong, stable early learning and child-care system means providing programs and benefits that support staff working in the sector,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Becky Druhan. “We heard from the sector that balancing affordability while implementing a health benefits and retirement plan is crucial. We heard, we listened, and now we are delivering.”

ECEs working in provincially licensed and funded child-care centres and family home agencies will receive hourly wage increases ranging from about $3.14 to $4.24. All employees will be included in a comprehensive group benefits and pension plan.

The wage increase will be for ECEs – including those working as inclusion co-ordinators – assistant directors, directors and family home consultants. Based on education and experience, wages range from $22.91 to $28.78 per hour for ECEs Level 1, 2 and 3, and up to $34.54 for ECEs in leadership roles.

Group benefits will be provided by the non-profit Health Association Nova Scotia and a modern defined-benefit pension through CAAT Pension Plan, also a non-profit.

These initiatives will cost $111 million beginning in 2024, with the Province funding $75.7 million and $35.3 million provided through an agreement with the federal government.

The new benefits and wages will be phased in as follows:

  • all employees will have access to an Employee and Family Assistance Program as of January 1
  • the wage increase will take effect April 1, 2024
  • employers will start enrolling in group benefits and the pension plan in May 2024, with full enrolment by the end of 2024
  • the Province will fund employers to provide retroactive pension contributions to January 1, 2024.


“If we are to succeed in building an early learning and child-care system for families across the country, we need a dedicated, well-compensated and valued early childhood workforce. Today’s announcement will improve compensation and benefits for early learning and child-care workers and is an important step to recognize the educators who are essential to childhood development in the province. I look forward to the continued efforts to recruit, retain and recognize this vital workforce.”

– Jenna Sudds, federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

“We are pleased to congratulate the sector as it implements its program for benefits and defined benefit pension to protect the professionals working in early learning and child care. We believe that comprehensive group benefits through Health Association Nova Scotia and a pension plan through CAAT, provincially funded, will support the objectives of expanding the availability of high-quality child care to Nova Scotian families.”

– Cheryl Kane, Senior Vice-President, HUB International Atlantic Limited (employee benefits consultants)

“We’re excited to partner with the Department to offer group health benefits for the early learning and child-care sector. With over 60 years experience, we have a strong track record in providing shared services for the health and social services sectors. As the largest provider of group benefits administration in Nova Scotia’s health system, our team is dedicated to excellence through innovation and outstanding performance.”

– Mary Donovan, Health Association Nova Scotia

“CAAT is proud to provide workers in Nova Scotia’s early learning and child-care sector with a sustainable workplace pension plan. They can look forward to secure and valuable lifetime income in retirement. Employees and operators will benefit from the value and sustainability of a modern defined benefit pension plan. DBplus meets the sector's need for cost certainty and helps with their recruitment and retention efforts.”

– Derek Dobson, CEO and Plan Manager, CAAT Pension Plan

Quick Facts:

  • for family home providers, the government will provide a grant so they can source their own benefits and contribute to a registered retirement savings plan
  • the Department worked with benefits expert Hub International and a working group comprised of early childhood educators, child-care operators, directors and family home providers to determine the best plan for the sector
  • CAAT will be offering the sector its modern defined-benefit pension plan, DBplus
  • there are about 3,000 ECEs and support staff working in provincially licensed and funded early learning and child-care centres that will benefit from this initiative
  • Nova Scotia has increased its investment in early learning and child care by $83 million, for a total investment of $277 million in 2023

Additional Resources:

More information on early learning and child care, including benefits and wages, is available at:

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