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In general

The new Early Childhood Work-Study Program, which leads to an attestation of collegial studies (AEC) in Early Childhood Education, will be offered in the fall of 2021 in several public general and vocational colleges (CEGEP) in Quebec. It is in addition to the early childhood training programs offered in Quebec, and introduces both work-study and the recognition of prior learning and competencies (RAC) process at the end of the program. The program is intended for people who are employed, newly hired or with little experience, and the courses are given during the working hours of the person hired.

Anyone interested in taking the leap to becoming a certified childcare worker. However, the person must be employed by an educational childcare centre. It is possible to apply for jobs online by going to the Work-Study Program’s page.

It may also be for people with little experience, who are already working in educational childcare services (SGÉE) and who wish to obtain their AEC in Early Childhood Education.

Eligible educational childcare services are:

  • Early childhood centers (CPE)
  • Subsidized and non-subsidized day care centers which hold a permit issued by the Ministère de la Famille.

Any educational childcare service (SGÉE) employer who needs short-term replacements and competent and qualified replacements in the medium-long term.

Any educational childcare employer who wishes to develop the skills and promote the retention of their work team.

COUD is a short-term training program (Programme de formations de courte durée), which focuses on practical trainings in occupations prioritized by the CPMT, and primarily supports sectors with labour needs. This funding comes from the Fonds de développement et de reconnaissance des compétences de la main-d'œuvre (FDRCMO). It funds the training of workers who do not have all the skills required for their jobs. This may be due to the fact that they have just been hired or promoted. It also allows for the requalification of people who have lost their jobs.

Part of the training must be done through on-the-job training. The involvement of companies in the training of their workers is therefore necessary.

More information (French):

An attestation of collegial studies in Early Childhood Education (AEC TEE). In order to be officially recognized as qualified, the student worker will have to meet the Ministère de la Famille’s cumulative work hours requirements.

Yes, the Early Childhood Work-Study Program provides a bridge to the diploma of collegial studies in Early Childhood Education (DEC TEE). If the student wishes to continue after obtaining their AEC, they will have to register individually for the program at a CEGEP offering the DEC TEE.

The following colleges will offer the AEC in English, but only starting in the winter of 2022:

  • Vanier College (Montreal)
  • Champlain College (Saint-Lambert)

11 CEGEPs will offer the program next session (Spring 2022):

    • Granby CEGEP (online)
    • Cégep de Jonquière - Mastera formation continue (in class)
    • Lévis CEGEP (hybrid)
    • Rimouski CEGEP (online)
    • Sainte-Foy CEGEP (hybrid)
    • Cégep de Sherbrooke (in class)
    • Sorel-Tracy CEGEP (online)
    • Gerald Godin CEGEP (online)
    • CEGEP Régional de Lanaudière à l'Assomption (online)
    • Champlain College -St-Lambert (in english - onligne)
    • Valleyfield CEGEP (online)

An educator with an AEC in TTE must have three years of relevant experience recognized for qualification purposes*.

*For the purpose of calculating years of relevant experience, one year corresponds to 1,664 fully paid hours. A total of 4,992 hours must therefore be accumulated. Only absences that are fully compensated by the employer are counted in this calculation (e.g. annual vacation, statutory holidays, sick and personal leave). The following periods of absence are not considered: parental leave, maternity leave, paternity leave, preventive withdrawal, unpaid leave, work accident or occupational disease (CNESST2), disability (salary insurance), unpaid leave, etc.

Here is the link to the Directive concernant l’évaluation de la qualification du personnel de garde (FR), which can be referred to for further questions:

Yes, the employer does have the right to terminate the contract at the end of the probationary period, as it is an employment contract. Since the COUD is based on an employment relationship, this will mean, de facto, that the person will no longer be able to take the AEC in the COUD program, unless they establish another employment relationship with a new employer.

For external support, you can consult your employers' association, or a labor lawyer specializing in trade unions.

If you are a member of the AQCPE, make a free 15-minute meeting with a labor lawyer to advise you on any union issue:

If you are a CQSEPE member, you can also get free 15-minute support. To do so, contact the CSQSEPE lawyers directly by writing an email to:

I am a candidate

In general, to be eligible for the Early Childhood Work-Study Program you must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older,
  • Be a permanent resident or citizen,
  • Have completed Secondary 5 credits, if only Secondary 4, admission is possible under certain conditions depending on the college.

Specific admission requirements for the Work-Study Program in Early Childhood Education will be determined by the college. Applicant must have a promise of employment from an educational childcare service (SGÉE) eligible for the Early Childhood Work-Study Program.

Upgrading activities may be offered to enable a candidate to meet certain admission requirements for a program of study leading to an AEC.

Success-oriented activities may also be offered to enable a student to acquire skills that the college deems essential for the pursuit of college studies.

More informationn

  • Being willing to commit a minimum of 18 months with a single employer to a program where they will work between 10-20 hours/week from the start of the training, and be paid to attend classes (15 hours per week) and study (3 hours per week) to learn or upgrade their trade skills. It is also possible that the person may need to study around 3 hours per week. All of this will be done on personal time without pay.
  • Obtain a promise of employment from an educational childcare service employer.
  • Demonstrate a degree of independence in learning skills.
  • Be able to work in French (oral and written).
  • Be able to use digital tools to follow the training at a distance.

Candidates will have to pay a registration fee and related costs to the CEGEP. This amount varies from one college to another, but is generaly less than $200 per session.

The employer is free to maintain an employment relationship with the student educator.

It is the student worker's responsibility to attend class in order to receive pay. If they are absent, they will be paid or not according to the terms of their contract

If the student worker does not pass the exams, the college's policies will prevail. If retaking them is possible, it must be at the individual's expense, without remuneration and according to the available offer.

The curriculum breaks for 4 weeks during the summer and 2 weeks during the holiday break. Labour standards apply for educators in training who request vacation time.

However, an educator in training may choose not to take a vacation and make themselves available full-time during this period for the employer.

This depends on the working conditions policy or the collective agreement in effect in the educational childcare service (SGÉE).

Yes, all hours worked are cumulative for qualification.

No, practical training hours are part of the training program and are not eligible for qualification.

Yes, if individuals who are currently employed in a childcare facility meet the AEC admission requirements of the selected college, they may be eligible for the new Early Childhood Work-Study Program.

They must notify their employer of their interest. The employer will need to register on the employer's area of the portal and indicate that one of their current educators is interested in participating in the Early Childhood Work-Study Program.

Yes, if their employer meets the eligibility requirements and the applicant meets the co-op training program admission requirements, they can continue to work for their current employer while completing the Early Childhood Work-Study Program training.

The Work-Study training program provides paid time to study and develop as an educator. It will allow a person to quickly attain the qualification required to be a qualified early childhood educator. It also provides a bridge to the diploma of collegial studies (DEC) in Early Childhood Education.

As people who have already been working in an educational childcare centre for more than two years, they may be eligible for the regular recognition of prior learning and competencies (RAC) process, which leads to an attestation of collegial studies in Early Childhood Education (AEC TEE) or a diploma of collegial studies in Early Childhood Education (DEC TEE).

The recognition of prior learning and competencies (RAC) process, which, depending on the candidate's profile, can lead to the AEC or the DEC in Early Childhood Education. This is an individual process that is not part of the Early Childhood Work-Study Program.

For all the details on the RAC process :

The Early Childhood Work-Study Program is an addition to the qualifying training programs in early childhood offered in Quebec. Several other AEC or DEC programs in early childhood education techniques exist. You can obtain more information from the CEGEPs offering these training programs.

The new Early Childhood Work-Study Program allows registrants to be employed and therefore paid to study and learn their new trade as part of a team in an early childhood education facility.

If the candidate has no experience in early childhood, they must register on the portal by responding to the job offers posted by the early childhood education service that they are interest in. Then, they must go through the recruitment process defined by the educational childcare centres and obtain a promise of employment to complete their file. Once the file is completed on the portal, the information will be sent to a CEGEP of the student's choice that offers the in-class or distance education program in order to open the admission file for the AEC in childcare education. The college will contact the person individually to finalize the registration.

Applicants with no early childhood experience may apply for any job opportunities on the portal that interest them, provided they are eligible for the Early Childhood Work-Study Program. The assessment of their eligibility is done at the time of the creation of their profile in the portal.

Be sure to apply to job openings in your area or in areas where you are able to travel independently to work face-to-face (on location).

No, they generally cannot participate in the Early Childhood Work-Study Program, because they have already started their AEC in TEE in a CEGEP.

Exceptions may arise after a study of the file and a decision in favor of a possible transfer by the CEGEP authorities.

Yes, if a Quebec employer hires a student who does not reside in Quebec (e.g., a person who lives in Ottawa but works in Gatineau), but the student will have to pay the tuition fees that apply to non-Quebec resident Canadians.

It is strongly recommended to choose a college that is close to the educational childcare centre in which the student worker is employed, in order to facilitate travel time. If the nearest college cannot provide the training, we will refer the applicant to an institution that offers a distance education program.

I am an employer

The co-op training program is for facility-based early childhood education services. Early childhood centres (CPEs), subsidized childcare centres and non-subsidized childcare centres are eligible to host Early Childhood Work-Study Program enrolled educators. Family childcare homes and daycare centers are not eligible.

The educational childcare centre must be recognized as a facility-based educational childcare service in Quebec and therefore provide a permit number issued by the Ministère de la Famille, as well as a Quebec national business number (NEQ) in the employer profile on the portal. CPE employers will also need to file a copy of the Board of Directors' resolution supporting their participation in the project.

The costs to the educational childcare centre are payroll taxes, vacation, holidays and sick leave if provided for in the current working conditions policy or collective agreement.

It is strongly recommended to use the Online Portal to recruit an external candidate or enroll an existing employee in the Early Childhood Work-Study Program to facilitate and expedite the administrative process of enrollment.

However, once the recruitment is completed, regardless of the method of recruitment, the employer is obliged to provide the information (last name, first name, age, last diploma obtained, etc.) concerning the external candidate or employee already in the program. The financial compensation can only be paid once the file is complete.

If the student worker drops out, the employer must terminate the employment contract with the Early Childhood Work-Study Program educator. However, if the employer is satisfied with the quality of service provided as an unqualified educator, a temporary or permanent contract of employment may be offered depending on the needs of the facility.

The Early Childhood Work-Study Program is unique in that it is a mandatory alternating work-study program. In fact, if a person does not wish to continue working in an educational childcare setting, they cannot continue their education with the affiliated college. Thus, the employment contract will be terminated with the employer.

There is no specific priority for in-house workers. It should be noted that an employer who decides to register an intern candidate with the Early Childhood Work-Study Program must do so by agreeing to release their employee 3 days per week on their work time if this person is full-time.

Take note that for an employer, supporting your work teams in the development of their skills is a mark of recognition and a lever for employee retention. Check with your contacts to see if they are interested in participating in the Early Childhood Work-Study Program to obtain the AEC TEE.

There is no limit to the number of people who can participate in the co-op training program in a single educational childcare facility. However, it is strongly recommended that you complete the workforce planning management exercise (GPMO) to identify how many staff the facility can release for class periods at one time. Employers can refer to a practical tool available in the Employer Toolkit to help them complete their GPMO. It is also possible to stagger enrolment across the different cohorts offered over the next three years to minimize the impact of release time for employees in training for their studies.

For an employer, investing in training is perceived very positively by employees. It improves retention of existing staff, attraction of new staff, team loyalty and recognition, and best professional practices within the environment. This leads to the building of a brand image with parent clients of the early childhood centre.

Yes, individuals already employed in the early childhood education facility must be registered by the employer. The employer must indicate in their employer profile that one of their employees will be participating in the Early Childhood Work-Study Program by providing their personal identification and contact information.

The employer must indicate in the employer profile on the portal that one of their current employees will be participating in the Early Childhood Work-Study Program. The employer must then fill out a form with the employee's personal identification and contact information and provide the following documents:

-The employee's most recent pay stub,

-A signed absence or incapacity form,

-A confidentiality agreement signed by the employee,

-A copy of the employee's CPR card, if applicable.

This information will be sent directly to the college to open the application for admission to the AEC TEE.

The employer is required to fill out the information of the current employee who is applying for the program on the portal. Also, a clause must be added to the active employment contract stating that the employee will participate in the Early Childhood Work-Study Program for a period of 18 months. The employer must commit to providing 10 to 20 hours of work per week

The advantages are to have new recruits for short-term replacements (immediately upon starting the training) and to have a qualified workforce in the medium and long term. In addition, employers are supported in their recruitment process thanks to the implementation of a unique portal for employers and candidates to the Early Childhood Work-Study Program.

The online portal allows employers to post their job opportunities and link them to their educational service. HR tools are also available to help them through the recruitment process.

See the Employer Toolkit:

The employer must register their educational childcare centre on the online portal and post their job offers. Once the job offers are visible, the employer will receive applications by e-mail and will have to recruit from the resumes received via the online portal. The final step is to provide the successful candidate's information on the portal within the required Early Childhood Work-Study Program registration timeframe.

The employer must be able to offer full compensation to its student workers and allow them to work between 10 and 20 hours per week during the 18 months of the co-op training program and according to the salary schedule in effect in its educational childcare service. The employer must pay its childcare staff both when they are working and when they are in training. The employer will be reimbursed a maximum of $15/hr for training hours taken by their student workers.

An employment contract must be drawn up and signed by the employer and the employee in training for the duration of the training (18 months).

Finally, the employer must be able to release the educator in training at the end of the program (10 hours) to complete the process of recognition of prior learning and competencies (RAC), which is essential for obtaining the AEC TEE.

No. The $15 per hour is the compensation reimbursed to the employer when educators are in training in the Early Childhood Work-Study Program. The employer may also choose to pay them at the same wage as their hourly rate during the work period, but should pay the difference between the $15 and this step.

Yes, as soon as the educator in training has completed their studies.

Yes, it is absolutely necessary to provide the letter of resolution from the Board of Directors to educational childcare centers that are incorporated as NPOs. This letter will be required to create and validate employer space on the online portal.

When determining whether your facility should participate in the Work-Study Program, you should consider the following:

  • a) Whether it is a matter of registering a person already employed in your facility (if so, at what level are they?) or recruiting an external candidate.
  • b) Attraction and retention of candidates, so that the position you are offering is attractive compared to other positions in your region.
  • c) The collective agreement if you are a unionized.

No, they cannot, as they do not have the same qualification requirements as facility-based educational childcare services.

Yes, she will be able to continue her AEC while pregnant. She will have to complete her in-training hours upon her return from maternity leave.

Yes, students may work in an educational childcare centre during the summer, as they will have a 4-week break (CEGEPs).

Labour standards apply for educators in training. They are entitled to days off in accordance with the weeks worked; for less than 12 months of employment, one day off for each full month of continuous service, not to exceed two weeks, for 1 year to 3 years of continuous service, two continuous weeks.

Yes, an employer may hire an applicant from outside their early childhood education centre. A promise of employment will be required for enrolment in the college.

The online portal will be the showcase for educational childcare services. It facilitates the recruitment of external candidates for employers. The latter can add their job postings, and candidates interested in the postings will be able to apply directly through the portal.

Yes, it will be possible on the online portal to indicate when employers wish to participate in the project (e.g. Winter 2022 cohorts, October 2022, Winter 2023, etc.).

Depending on what is stated in the employment contract, criminal background checks are the responsibility of the employer or the candidate.

The educational childcare service is responsible for paying for the student workers in training’s time and payroll taxes. Each month, the employer will file a claim with the CSMO-ÉSAC for the educator-in-training's study time. Eligible expenses are only the study time (training and half-day study) $15/hr maximum as well as the 4 days of release time to allow the student worker to complete their prior learning assessment.

No, all other costs, benefits, vacation, holidays, insurance, pension plan, payroll taxes, sick leave, the difference between $15/hr and the first step of the salary structure are the responsibility of the employer.

The job offer in the Early Childhood Work-Study Program must be a term contract.

Yes, employers can have multiple educators enrolled in the Early Childhood Work-Study Program, such as one per facility. This may be a good strategy to address the difficulties of replacing existing educators.

The training will be delivered by distance, hybrid (distance + face-to-face) or face-to-face depending on the participating college

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