On Monday August 15th, the Government of Saskatchewan announced it is committing nearly $9 million for training and professional development grants for the early learning and childcare sector.
Education Minister Dustin Duncan announced that the province is partnering with Collège Mathieu in Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT) and Saskatchewan Polytechnic (Sask Polytech) to make Early Childhood Education (ECE) training opportunities available at no charge. Programming is available at all three institutions and with much of the training available online, it can be taken at the student’s own pace and at times that work for the individual. Training and professional development opportunities range from ECE certificate courses and diploma training to more specialized courses such as training on autism, a Francophone course for ECE’s, leadership training along with micro-credentials and workshops.
Providing grants for Early Childhood Educators is just one part of a larger initiative to implement a Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care System. The Canada-Saskatchewan Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, signed a year ago, provides a federal investment of nearly $1.1 billion over five years for regulated early learning and childcare programs and services for children under the age of six in Saskatchewan. With 70 per cent childcare fee reductions already announced in the province, the goal is to bring down average fees for regulated childcare to $10-a-day by the end of March 2026.
“There is no childcare system without an Early Learning and Child Care workforce,” Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Karina Gould, said. “Early Childhood Educators do incredible work in nurturing our children, and these training and professional development opportunities are meaningful to ensure they have access to the tools and resources they need to succeed.” ECE’s, licensed childcare home providers, and childcare home assistants will be prioritized for enrollment, the Government of Saskatchewan stated, and other individuals wanting to become ECEs or wanting to open their own childcare day home are also welcome to enroll.
“Early Childhood Educators have a positive impact on the learning and development of Saskatchewan’s youngest learners,” Education Minister Dustin Duncan said.
"This collaboration between the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education and Collège Mathieu will allow us to continue to promote better access to flexible training and an enhancement of the Early Childhood Education program offered by our institution, to increase a Francophone workforce and support sufficient staffing in early childhood centres,” Chief Executive Officer of Collège Mathieu, Francis Kasongo said. “It will also contribute to the professional development and enrichment of any person, Francophone or Francophile, who is already working or considering a career in the field of Early Childhood Education."
“Our commitment to providing accessible training options for Early Childhood Educators that are culturally responsive, grounded in Indigenous pedagogy and traditional practice, and based on community and industry need, remains steadfast,” President and CEO of the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies, Riel Bellegarde said. “SIIT is excited to continue developing and delivering various professional development and Early Childhood Education Level I, II and III certification programs to Indigenous learners and childcare professionals across Saskatchewan.”
“We are deeply grateful to the Government of Saskatchewan for investing in the institution’s early childhood education programs,” Saskatchewan Polytechnic CEO and President, Dr. Larry Rosia said. “Through this funding, Sask Polytech is able to offer additional seats through the School of Continuing Education, as well as to provide free tuition to students enrolled in the Building the Future program. By growing the number of trained Early Childhood Educators across the province, we give an opportunity for childcare centres to meet the needs of parents and caregivers and provide a higher level of care for Saskatchewan’s children.” Other grant funding is available for regulated childcare home providers and childcare centres to support their staff participating in the training. Facilities can visit saskatchewan.ca or contact their Early Learning and Child Care Consultant for more information on available grant funding.
Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wakaw Recorder