This information was last updated on February 1, 2013 prior to the CCHRSC’s dissolution. For more information, please see the message from the Board.
There are three main occupations in Canada’s ECEC sector:
1. Early Childhood Educator (ECE)
An early childhood educator (ECE) is an individual with a post-secondary credential in Early Childhood Education and Care who is responsible for the development, delivery, and evaluation of the care and education of children ages 0-12 years in a variety of age groupings, including infant and toddler care, preschool-aged care, school-aged care and inclusive care. Early childhood educators may work in a variety of settings, including publicly funded child care settings, home-based child care settings and family resource programs.
2. Early Childhood Educator (ECE) Assistant
Early childhood educator (ECE) assistants lead children in activities to stimulate and develop their intellectual, physical and emotional growth under the supervision of early childhood educators (ECEs).
3. Child Care Administrator
A child care administrator is an individual who is responsible for the long-term and day-to-day operation of an early childhood education and care (ECEC) setting. A child care administrator can be a director, administrator or manager working in the field.
Members of the broader ECEC labour force include an estimated:
This brings the total ECEC workforce to approximately 322,425.
More than 96% of ECEs and assistants are women. This is the sixth most female-dominated occupation in the country, after medical secretaries (99%), dental assistants (98%), secretaries (except legal and medical) (98%), legal secretaries (98%), and dental hygienists and dental therapists (97%).
A higher proportion of people in the ECEC sector have a post-secondary credential (a one-year certificate, a two-year diploma or a three- or four-year university degree) compared to the overall workforce. More specifically:
On average, 77% of the ECEC workforce have a post-secondary credential compared to 58% of the total workforce in Canada.
ECEs and assistants earned much less than other workers and less than most women in other occupations. Median full-year full-time income for 2005 was:
Source: Portrait of Canada’s ECEC Workforce, 2009, CCHRSC
The job of providing early childhood education and care is complex, demanding and carries a high degree of responsibility. Many day-to-day challenges contribute to staff burnout, feelings that the work is not respected and interest in better, related jobs.
Low wages and challenging working conditions are important factors in the sector's recruitment problems and high turnover. Improving compensation and working conditions is critical to creating a high-quality child care system.
For more detailed information, see: