Information for licensed centre-based programs

What is the Retention Incentive and what does it mean for my program?

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 operators to distribute to early childhood educators working directly with children.

The total budget will be allocated to all licensed centre-based programs based on the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) staff to meet staff-to-child ratios required as per the Child Day Care Standards Regulations. Out-of-school (OOS) spaces are converted at a rate of 1/3 of a full-time space.

The Retention Incentive must be used exclusively to enhance current staff wages. It should be used to enhance the existing wage level of educators and towards statutory benefits associated with the increased wages such as Employment Insurance, Canada Pension Plan, Workers’ Compensation Insurance, Vacation Pay, Statutory Holiday Pay, and other such benefits that are deemed to be statutorily required.

This increase is retroactive to April 1, 2022.

How will the funding be distributed to licensed centre-based programs?

The GNWT will provide the Retention Incentive to licensed centre-based programs through a two-year contribution agreement (CA) to distribute to eligible early childhood educators working directly with children. This may include part-time and casual staff, as well as directors and/or managers/coordinators who, for a portion of the day, work directly with children.

Which employees can I provide the Retention Incentive to?

The Retention Incentive must be used for the retention and recruitment of early childhood educators working directly with children in your program and result in increased wages for those staff. This funding is not to be used for operational expenses.

Will the GNWT continue to provide wage top-ups to early childhood educators?

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 the employer.

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

How much funding will my program receive to distribute?

The GNWT is providing funding to programs at a rate of $12,750 per FTE (calculated per staff-to-child ratio) for 2022-23 and $16,250 per FTE for 2023-2024. You may use the funding received to distribute wage increases to all eligible early childhood educators that work directly with children in their program.

How much of a wage increase do I need to provide to the early childhood educators working in my program?

The GNWT encourages licensed centre-based program operators to consider the amount of funding early childhood educators received through the Early Childhood Staff Grant when determining the minimum amount educators will receive through the Retention Incentive. The amount you distribute is up to you.

When and how do I pay the Retention Incentive?

The Retention Incentive gives you the flexibility to determine the best approach to address your retention and recruitment needs. You can determine a wage enhancement program that best supports the recruitment and retention of educators.

Some licensed programs may decide to distribute the Retention Incentive as an increase on each pay cheque, while others may administer it quarterly or as a lump sum.