Earnings in the Child Care Industry in Toronto

In 2022, the average wage in the child care industry was $22.87/hour, the highest in the past decade.


Source: Labour Force Survey


Figure 14 shows that there has been an upward trend in the average hourly wage in the child care industry in the past ten years. In 2022, the hourly wage in the child day care industry was 22% more than 2013. During the same period, the rate of inflation was 24.78% indicating that the wage increase has not kept up with inflation. The Province of Ontario’s November 2023 announcement of a rise in the wage ceiling and wage floor of the RECEs, means that the average hourly wage in 2024 will be higher than what we see in Figure 14.


Table 7: Median Employment Income (Annual), for Key Occupations in Child Care, Census 2021

Median Employment Income Early Childhood Educators and Assistants (ECEAs) Home Child Care Providers (HCCPs)
Toronto, CMA $41,600 $29,000
Ontario $39,600 $24,600
Canada $37,600 $24,400

Source: Census 2021


Table 7 gives additional insight into the annual earnings of child care workers. It highlights the Census 2021 data on the median employment income (annual) for key occupations in the child care industry. According to the 2021 Census data, child care workers, be it ECEAs or HCCPs, earned slightly more in Toronto, CMA compared to Ontario and Canada. However, HCCPs[x] earned notably less than ECEAs in all three geographic comparisons.

Using Census 2021 data, we checked how the income for ECEs compared to some occupations[xi] that have less educational requirements and job training in Toronto. The results have been listed in order of ascending salary.

  • Receptionists ($40,000)
  • Hotel front desk clerks ($40,800)
  • Security guards and related security service occupations ($41,200)
  • Nursery and greenhouse labourers ($44,000)
  • Service station attendant (45,600)
  • Shippers and Receivers ($46,400)
  • Meat cutters and fishmongers – retail and wholesale ($47,600)
  • Couriers and messengers ($49,600)
  • Janitors, caretakers, and heavy-duty cleaners ($51,600)
  • Operators and attendants in amusement, recreation, and sport ($62,000).

It appears that ECEs, who play an integral role in helping our children build the foundational blocks of learning, social interaction, cognitive development, and emotional regulation may not be receiving competitive wages when compared to occupations requiring lower education and job training in Toronto. Although the Province of Ontario has raised wages, we don’t know if this is sufficient.

Several studies on the child care industry and associated occupations have reported that child care workers feel overwhelmed, exhausted, under-appreciated and underpaid. A survey of Early Childhood Educators’ well-being conducted by the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario (AECEO) found that 60 percent of employees felt their salaries do not accurately reflect the work they do, and 68 per cent said they feel “worn out.”

The Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario (AECEO) have expressed concerns that while the government is supporting the early care workforce through investing in tuition and training grants, existing child care workers continue to leave the profession as they feel their wages and benefits are not a correct reflection of their workload. AECEO also underscored that if the retention issue is not resolved, the industry will struggle to build a long-term qualified and sustainable workforce.


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