Information for early childhood educators

What is the Retention Incentive and what does it mean to me?

The Retention Incentive replaces the Early Childhood Staff Grant and is provided by the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) to licensed centre-based early learning and child care program operator to administer to early childhood educators working directly with children. It must be used exclusively to enhance current staff wages. 

This increase is retroactive to April 1, 2022.

How do I apply for the new funding?

You don’t have to apply to receive this funding. The Retention Incentive will be paid directly to you by your employer. Connect with your employer about what this means for you.

Why isn’t the GNWT continuing to provide the Early Childhood Staff Grant directly to early childhood educators?

During engagement with Indigenous Governments, licensed early learning and child care programs and early childhood educators during the Early Learning and Child Care Funding Programs Review and during development of the 2030 Early Learning and Child Care Strategy, participants expressed the need to change the way that the Early Childhood Staff Grant was delivered. The Retention Incentive program is a response to that request and is an opportunity for licensed centre-based programs operators to increase wages using an approach that best meets the needs of their program and educators.

How much will my wage increase? How was this determined? Will I receive the same amount of funding as I got from the Staff Grant?

Just as wages vary by educator and program across the territory, the exact amount of funding that early childhood educators receive will vary. Licensed centre-based programs will determine an approach to distributing the Retention Incentive. Connect with your employer about what this means for you. 

How will I be paid the new Retention Incentive?

Licensed centre-based programs will receive the Retention Incentive from the Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) to distribute to early childhood educators. How and when you receive the Retention Incentive will be determined by your employer. This means that one program may provide educators with increases on each pay cheque, while another program may provide it quarterly or as a lump sum.

Will I continue to get the Early Childhood Staff Grant as well?

No. The Early Childhood Staff Grant will be merged with the Retention Incentive to streamline staff wage enhancements. The Staff Grant will end on September 30, 2022, and final payments will be made beginning in October.

Starting in October, early childhood educators working in licensed centre-based programs will no longer need to apply to the GNWT to receive wage top-ups as this funding will come directly from your employer.

You can apply for the Early Childhood Staff Grant directly from the GNWT for April to September 2022 until October 30, 2022.

Why is the existing Early Childhood Staff Grant funding ending?

The Retention Incentive combines the funding from the Early Childhood Staff Grant program with new federal funding and is provided directly to licensed centre-based program operators in response to recent engagement.

How will ECE manage accountability for the funding?

Licensed centre-based programs will sign a two-year contribution agreement (CA) with ECE that states this funding must be used to increase wages for eligible early childhood educators; it cannot be used to replace funds used for existing costs associated with operating a licensed program.

Licensed centre-based programs will be required to submit information initially as well as provide annual reporting to show how the funding was used.

I still have more questions.

Information sessions will be hosted for early childhood educators working in licensed centre-based programs in October 2022. ECE will be providing information on these sessions to program operators and educators.