Association Early Childhood Educators Ontario

OPEN LETTER TO ONTARIO EDUCATION MINISTER THE HONOURABLE LIZ SANDALS

February, 2014

Dear Minister Sandals:

We are writing to communicate our concerns about the changes proposed to Ontario’s child care regulations. Specifically, we are concerned about the proposed reductions to adult: child ratios and increase in group sizes achieved by altering age groupings. We believe that these proposals are inconsistent with the Modernization paper’s Guiding Principle: “Commitment to quality programs for all children. Program quality must be a priority across service settings” and not in the best interests of children—or, indeed, any of us.

The response to your government’s Bill 143 has been quite positive.  The early childhood community and the broader child care movement have been enthusiastic about its proposals to limit unregulated child care and to most of the other changes it contains.

However, we are concerned about the content and process of some of the proposed regulation changes. Research shows that the proposed ratios/group size regulations for the youngest children (1 – 2 years) are below even minimum recommended quality standards. This means that the most vulnerable children—for whom ratios and group sizes make the most difference—would be cared for by too few adults in too-large groups. We also believe that the number of young children proposed for regulated family child care —six two year olds in a private home with one caregiver—to be too high to constitute “quality” or even safety.  

Staff and provider educational preparation requirements are strikingly absent from the proposals, which again contradict the Ontario government’s commitment to the Guiding Principle of high quality. Research clearly indicates the strong links between professionally educated staff or training for home child care providers and high quality. The current proposals will actually work to reduce the proportion of professional staff working in programs serving the youngest children.

The child care workforce, earning low wages and benefits, is already struggling in an environment offering little support. Research has shown the negative impact of poorer ratios and group sizes on staff morale, retention, working conditions and interactions with young children—factors that are at the heart of any quality child care program. A further decrease in working conditions will exacerbate service providers’ ongoing challenge to recruit and retain professionally educated early childhood educators in child care programs for younger children. 

Further, the proposals fail to consider other key issues that would be negatively impacted by poorer ratios and group sizes.  These include the inclusion of children with special needs and provision of high quality care for children and families in need of extra support, such as newcomers to Canada and low income families with limited resources.  

One of our overarching concerns is the absence of a holistic approach to policy development, which we had hoped was signaled by the Modernization paper and the substantial new legislation. We suggest that changes to ratios and group size must be considered within the context of other policy elements — early childhood training, pedagogy, facility considerations, safety and financing—that is, within a full policy process with a goal of real transformation. 

Ratios and group sizes have not changed in Ontario since 1983. At that time, there was a full consultation process including significant review and presentation of research, data and fact-gathering, dialogue and debate between Ministry officials and the child care community.  We believe that to do justice to this important issue, a similarly robust process of reflection and consultation that is more than a one-way response to the proposed regulation changes is warranted.  

Minister Sandals, we urge you to take more time to engage in a fuller consultation and policy development process. We will work with you to ensure the passage of Bill 143 and engage with you in a full policy process. We believe that this needs to include not only alternatives to the significant ratio reductions and group size increases now proposed but other key policy elements that will “build [the] comprehensive early learning and care system, including the successful extension of full-day kindergarten and child care” committed to by Premier Wynne in her Throne Speech last year.  Only thus will child care be transformed into the accessible high quality early learning program envisioned in your ministry’s Modernization paper that can come to benefit all children and families in Ontario.

Thus, we the undersigned organizations, early childhood leaders, and child care service providers urge you to initiate without further delay a full policy process that may include regulation changes.

Organizations

Advocates for Progressive Childcare Policy
Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario
Campaign 2000 – Ontario
Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) Guelph Chapter
Canadian Union of Postal Workers, 2nd National Vice President Cindi Foreman
Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 2204 Child Care Workers of Eastern Ontario
Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 2484 Toronto child care workers
Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 4400
Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario, President Fred Hahn
Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada
Childcare Resource and Research Unit
Children’s Aid Society of Toronto
Community Living Toronto
Early Childhood Resource Teachers Network Ontario
Family Service Toronto
Family Supports Institute Ontario
Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care
Ontario Federation of Labour, President Sid Ryan
Ottawa Child Care Association (OCCA) 
Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario , CEO, Doris Grinspun, RN, MSN, PHD LLD (HON), O.ONT.
Toronto Coalition for Better Child Care
Toronto Women’s City Alliance 
YWCA Hamilton
YWCA Toronto
 
Child care service providers
Andrew Fleck Child Care Services, Ottawa
Blue Wave Child Care Centre, North York
Canadian Mothercraft Society
Capital Day Care Centre, Ottawa
Centretown Parents’ Cooperative Daycare, Ottawa
Child & Community Resources / Ressources pour l'Enfance et la Communauté, Sudbury
Children and Family Centre, Confederation College, Thunder Bay
Children’s Rehabilitation Centre – Algoma
Dalhousie Parents Daycare Centre, Ottawa
Dian Childcare Centre, Scarborough
East Toronto Village Children`s Centre, Toronto 
Ferncliff Daycare and Afterschool Group, Toronto
Friendly Little Campus 2, Scarborough
Friendly Little Campus Daycare, Scarborough 
Glebe Parent's Day Care (Ottawa)
Harmony Childcare Centre, Toronto 
Hawthorne Meadows Nursery School, Inc, Ottawa
Heritage Home Childcare (multi-service provider), Toronto
Jackman Community Daycare, Toronto
Kid’s Zone Lakeside, Kenora
Kid’s Zone SMB, Kenora
Macaulay Child Development Centre, Toronto
Matthew John Day Care Centre of Toronto
McMurrich Sprouts Daycare, Toronto
McNicoll Ave Child Care Program, North York
Mount Hamilton Baptist Day Care, Hamilton
NYAD Community Inc (Not Your Average Daycare), Toronto
Playhouse Childcare Centre Inc, Toronto
Pleasant Child Care, North York
Red Apple Day Care, Toronto 
REKSAP Centres For Early Learning, Ottawa
Ryerson Early Learning Centre, Toronto
St. Mark`s Day Care, North York
South Riverdale Child-Parent Centre
Teddy Bear Day Care, Garson
Topcliff Community Child Care, Toronto 
University of Guelph Child Care & Learning Centre, Guelph
West Ridge Early Education Centre, Orillia
Withrow Childcare Centre, Toronto
 
 Early childhood education sector leaders
 
Rachel Langford PhD, Director, School of Early Childhood Studies, Ryerson University 
Professor Donna S. Lero, Jarislowsky Chair in Families and Work, University of Guelph
Martha Friendly, Executive Director, Childcare Resource and Research Unit
Eduarda Sousa, Executive Director, Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario
Kathryn Underwood PhD, School of Early Childhood Studies, Ryerson University 
Rachel Berman PhD, School of Early Childhood Studies, Ryerson University
Sejal Patel, Assistant Professor, School of Early Childhood Studies, Ryerson University
Julia Forgie Ph D Candidate, School of Early Childhood Studies, Ryerson University
Laurel Rothman, National Coordinator, Campaign 2000 – National
Monica Lysack, Professor, School of Education, Sheridan College
Tricia van Rhijn, PhD, RECE ,Assistant Professor of Family Relations & Human Dev., University of Guelph
Rianne Mahon, PhD, Professor and CIGI Chair, Social Policy, Balsillie School and Wilfrid Laurier University
Patrizia Albanese, PhD, Professor, Sociology, Ryerson University
Jamie Kass. Child Care Coordinator, Canadian Union of Postal Workers
Lisa Pasolli, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Trent University
Janine Kirby, ECE Program Coordinator, Lambton College, Sarnia
Petr Varmuza, PhD student, OISE/UT
Luc Turgeon, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa. 
Alison Gaston, RECE, BA, MA, Professor, Academic Advisor, Sheridan College
Brooke Richardson, B.A, M.A, ECME, Instructor, School of Early Childhood Studies, Ryerson University
Dasha Shalimo, BEd, MEd.Professor, ECE & BECL, School of Education, FAHCS
Ann Douglas, parenting author
Dr. Susan Berry, Psychologist
Lisa Paterick, P.Eng., Energy Manager, Carleton University
Noah Kenneally, Childhood researcher, BA ECE, MA ECS
Glory Ressler, B.A., Dip. GIT, Early Learning and Care Consultant, System Integration Analyst, Peel Children and Youth Initiative
Michal Perlman, Applied Psychology and Human Development, OISE/UT.
Janet Davis, Toronto City Councillor
Dawna Thomas, President, CUPE 2484 Toronto Childcare workers
Janet Teibo, CUPE 2484 Toronto Childcare workers
Leslie Kopf-Johnson, ECE coordinator M.Ed. RECE, Algonquin College
Lynn Haines RECE, Professor Early Childhood Education, Centennial College
Erica Harris, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Sheridan Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning
Karen Chandler, Professor, Early Childhood Education, George Brown College
Dr. Andrea O'Reilly, Founder and Director, The Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement, York University
Kathleen Brophy PhD, Professor Emerita, Dept. of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition University of Guelph
 
Early childhood education champions
 
Trish Beadle, Director
Julie Roy, RECE
Chrystal Morden RECE, AECEO.C,
Lisa Di Franco, Executive Director
Eleonore Benesch, Retired centre director
Cathy Nicolson, RECE, Assistant Director
Urvasi Gengeswaran 
Jessica Keith-Taillon 
Jessica Gaumond
Karen Chaplin, BA, RECE, AECEO.C, Supervisor
Kim Watts RECE,BA, Manager
Chantal Crowe, RECE
Marlee Spiwak
Leanne Hoppin, RECE, Team Leader
Elizabeth Meade, RECE, AECEO.C
Andrea Papich, RECE, AECEO.C
Susan Lalonde
Deborah Balthazar
Jian Min Hu
Sanja Todorovic, RECE
Sinisa Jolic
Stephen Lamb, RECE
Catherine Ciardulli, RECE
Karen Sourtzis
Simona Balca
Sonia Amankwah
Jim Nolan RECE, AECEO.C
Antonietta Smith
Evelyn Touchbourne
Elvina Kam
Stacey Landers-Ray, RECE
Samantha Yarde
Sue Lucente
Hassana Bakare AECEO.C
Pat Mathews,  RECE, AECEO.C
Karen Sutch; RECE 
Mary Pat Vollick
Sue Dorotea
Casandra Pascotto
Marilyn Barban, B.A.Sc., RECE, AECEO.C
Cathy Teixeira, RECE
Monica Dempsey, RECE
Cathy Barrie
Zahida Virjee
Kelly Bomans, RECE, AECEO.C
Jane Tousignant B.A. RECE, AECEO.C
Lynne Saila
Heather Dennhardt, RECE, AECEO.C
Evette Sauriol RECE/EPEI 
Amanda Bryan
Jessie Baijal
Crystal Narine
Gwen Berry
Patrizia Ruoso
Diane O'Neill
Dawn Baetens RECE, AECEO.C
Daniella M. Raposo, OCT, RECE, M.A., B.Ed., B.A., C.A.A.T
Darlene Mitro
Amir Baig
Claire Theriault
Jan Blaxall
Betty Schrader
Moira Teed M.Sc., M.S.W., RSW
Cameron Ketchum
Andrea Duffield, RECE
Yahong Li (Amy)
Teodoralyn Capistrano
Tara Kainer
Danuta Wloka
Chelsea Dault, RECE
Andrea Rao
Karen Cole-Thrasher, RECE
Faiza Rao
Jennifer Anzin
Sandra Brady RECE, AECEO.C
Amy Goncalves  
Jacqueline Wood, Resource Teacher
Ashley Bos - ECL Student
Kelsey Nocera
Cathy Kerr
Dorothy Emms, RECE, AECEO.C
Tiffany Cramer, RECE
Lois Blandford
Rick Nankissoor, RECE, Director
Pamela Cappe Hamovitch, Director
Tracy Petersen
Laura Del Zotto
Alessandra Del Vecchio
Anita Price
Sheila Cumming, RECE, R.T.
Lisa Squier
Lorna Innes, RECE
Elaine Young
Debbie Benham
Doris Ebejer
Mary Harney-McGregor
Lisa Zufelt, RECE, RT
Patricia Pemberton
Kristin Tobin
Mary Lou Lummiss, RECE
Spring Hill
Kendra Valliquette, RECE, Resource Consultant
Ena Bohorquez, Early Childhood Consultant
Meg Jordan, Director
Lindsey Taruffi
Melody Gilboord
Lucy Roque
Nahid Jamei
Zoe Harvey
Lee Harris, Program Support
Diane Shiner-Feder
Emily Wright
Sandra McCrindle, RECE, AECEO.C
Dori Cross, RECE
Kathy Klaver, RECE
Nomalonga Vales, RECE
Lori Howarth, RECE
Glynis Hamilton
Andrea Muzyka, RECE
Heather Clayton
Sharon Gillespie, RECE
Sylvia Wilson, RECE
Rachelle Campbell, RECE
Lorna Reid, RECE
Debbie Mooney-Bianchi
Nicole Barens
Lynda Rivet, RECE
Angela Mathers
Teresa Pellizzari
Paola Hohenadel
Cheryl Anderson
Eranda Gjomema (Parent)
Jamie Liew
Roman Zakaluzny
Jacob Watson
Sinéad Rafferty, RECE, BA, MES
Jackie Harvey, RECE
Michelle Karmiol, RECE
Courtney Adey (Parent)
Natalie Cummins 
Amy Adams, RECE
Christine Rose, RECE
Jennifer Wagenaar, RECE
Cindy Goda, RECE
Jennifer Gilbert
Carolyn Young
Isobel Young
Hugh Bain
Michelle Boerger
Gwen Pitteway RECE
Anna Leger RECE
Donna Spreitzer
Catharine Waters
Judy Normandeau
Cathy Swan
Natalia Frias
Sylvia Mak
Geoffrey Brown
Susan DeSousa
Salma Rahman
Mausami Pandit
Joy Lerman
Terri Carr
Donna Robinson
Neena Locke
Sharon Lazenby
Dorothy Amaechi
Kathryn Cicekci
Hamideh Habib
Lisa Tjernstrom
Christie Leja
Susie Pascuzzi
Coleen McGrath
Franca DeLuca
Cheryl Eves
Ruby Malobago
Lynn Lewis
Jola Sadocha
Victoria Bitto
Rocio Monroy
Maureen Bailey
Anna Tavares
Meike Vangowen
Victoria Zapata
Ko-Lun Liu
Brooke Gouweteeuw
Linda Hart
Miao Xuchong
Anthea Moreau
Evelyn Ramkhalawan
Peter Phillips
Jody Hitchcock
Josee Chan
Pamela Taskinen
Margaret Isnor
Holly Marsh
Monica Samayoa
Anna Sayyed
Shabnam Ranna
Victoria Popov
Allyson Cullen
Hollis Pearson
Verushka Coronel
Gloria Lancz
Debbie Wilson
Vaina Chantal
Athy Mellos
Vengkham Khammongkhoune
Bernadette Summers, MA.ECS
Carly Bravo
Elise Larsen
Sheron Smith
Cathy Turalinski
Marisa Policelli, RECE
Hanisha Patel
Alena Slowka
Greg Barley
Marcella Freeman
Tyler Clark Burke
Jeremy Stewart
Rose Sleugh
Lorna McKinlay
Richelle Milson
Jennifer Ferguson
Heeyoung Jung
Donna Palmer
Magnolia Juntayas
Chun Hong Chen
Melissa Jorritsma
Dr. Elaine Winick, RECE
Joan Littleford
Noreen McChesney
Chanequa Cameron
Lena DaCosta
Sue Parker
Kate Chung (grandmother)
Ivonne Franco
Tina Zandri RECE
Jessica Tomas, RECE
Aria Ferrier-Clarke
Mailin Brenner
Dora Chiu
Eric Midvidy (parent)
Justine Fortura
Claire (Fang) Mu
Pooja Dalvi (parent)
Andrea Sharkey (parent)
 Paul Sharkey (parent)
Nancy Hendy
Kelly Williams
Robin Waite (parent)
Chris Carrick (parent)
Cecilia Farrol
Jessica Haberman-Contreras
Melanie Grad (parent)
Nicole Fram
Len Capistrano
Melanie Hooker RECE
Edward Li
Zaynab Z Haq
Nicole Caldwell
Lorelei von Heymann (parent)
Mara Canal
Ileana Florea (parent)
Meagan Mienstra (parent)
Kader Traore (parent)
Madhur Anand
Miranda MacPherson
Jessica Scallen
Anna Mazur (parent)
Colleen Kjellman
Anna Guilbault
Lucie Lankimaki
Kim Figliomeni
Gord Mackenzie
Karin Mackenzie
Lisa Schut
Kristin Dutil
Tatum Blanchette
Laisa Cowen Forsyth
Judy Thorsteinson
Suzanne Kukko
Michelle Bird
Sonya Belisle
Kelly Mangoff
Alex Guiza
Rachel Blanchette
Laurie Mackenzie
Ellie Murphy
Violaine Tourny
Vanessa Kirkham
Orllie Gogolin, RECE, ECE.C
Darlene Meecham R.E.C.E.
Danny Almeida Muller
Chrissy Pappas
Jessica Runge
Stacey Ursprung
Mei Burgin (parent)
Jeremy Burgin (parent)
Stuart Burchill
Ann Le
Anne Elly Rose
Ana Filipovic
Amal Akkoumeh
Deanne Boyes
Arleia Coloro
Olga Skelly
Sunayana Jena
Marie Jeanne
Fay Williiams
Shuvra Basu
Ping Yan
Ratna Mandal
Subashini Sirakumaran
Helena Akter
Filomena Melo
Ana Baptista
Mostafa Hashemizadeh
Judy LaRose
Natasha Jones
Pavani Vithala
Sasha Gajic
Jennifer Yerxa
Jessi McEwen
Sabrina Sowkey
Joanne Messina RECE
Vyctoria Barling
Sheika Crook (parent)
Melek Kekec (parent)
Margarita Lopez (parent)
Hilda Banahene (parent) 
Anh Truong (parent)
Johanna Lopez (parent)
Laura Glassgow (parent)
Daniele Cordeiro (parent)
Ana Lazo (parent)
Sherine Thompson (parent)
Debberee Haughton (parent)
Julia Golaub (parent)
Shanda Williams (parent)
Sophia Wu (parent)
Jagoda Kusiba (parent)
Binta Barrie (parent)
Jennifer Naula (parent)
Erica Ravaneli (parent)
Naburan Sarma (parent)
Hilina Woya (parent)
Elyssa Marks
Helen Izumi
Donna Bennett RECE
Brandon Boyko
Erika Halder
Kyle Boyko
Diane Dobusz
Albert Sly
Cristine Vergara
Joy Vergara
Ivana Otovic
Srojan Burkvk
Stephanie Gilpin
Wade Gilpin
Janice Parchment
Shantih Lawrence
Rukshama Nafis
Sarah Russell
Diana Leggat
Dion Kelsie
Amanda Stanton
Stephanie Gomes
Gerry Russell
Sergio Gomes
Barbara Boyko
Kristi Bovaconti
Alana Powell
Cecilia Pon
Daphne Pon
Chester Pon
Nafis Akhtar
Melina Laverty
Wendy Sookrah
Elyssa Elton
Ravi Menezes
Linh Nguyen
Laura Clunie
Gavin Alexander
Leonard Boyko
Cory McPherson
Chris Klesch (parent)
Krista Klesch (parent)
Aaron Kelly (parent)
Evadne Kelly (parent)
Tara Cotter (parent)
Chris Cotter (parent)
Elaine Stoner (parent)
Grant Anderson
Christine Maina
Paul St. Pierre
Lynise Reedy
Rebecca Masters
Ryan Robb Teoxon
Amber Austin
John Walker
Rebecca Noronha
Simone Reid
Felicia McCabe
Wendy Fong
Marcus Rodrigues
Monica McSheim
Alex Vamos
Jen Woodill
Lyn Lynch
Charlene Annette
Jamie Steer-Welbourn
Bonny Walker
Sian Gordon
Nenita Manabat
Dante Javelosa
Tom Dedes
Kumari Sivasanmugam
Michelle Gallway
Francine Samadi
Ellada Aliera
Denise Strong
Charmaine Cousins
Lori Wattie (parent)
Craig Wattie (parent)
Nayiris Castillo (parent)
Meagan Sinclair
Frank Sinclair
Marisa Jin
Laura Breau, M.A., CCLS
Leigh Brown (parent)
Hillel Heinstein
Carolyn Davidson (parent)
Diane Policicchio
Nick Policicchio
Nadine O'Neill
Angelene Mitchell (parent)
Lisa Erickson RECE
Gerry Gill
Christina Marie Psotka (parent)
Evon Reynolds (parent)
Peta-Gaye Ebanks
Kath Gradwell, BAA, M.Ed., ECEC, RECE
Sarah Fisher
Laura Williams (parent)
Janet Clayton RECE
Daya Lye
Charlyn Monahan RECE, AECEO.C
Pat Costello
Sarah Tsang
Lynda Regan-Boriska
Chrissy Giannoulias
Stephen Elliot Lye (parent)
Andrea Blonde (parent)
Geoff Brown
Jennifer Paterson (parent)
Carmen Dominguez-Brauer
Patrick Brauer. 
Christine Cox
Janet Butler-McPhee
Joseph McPhee
Pam Mcfarlane
Karen Rothfels
Maritza Machado RECE, AECEO.C
Debbie Carmichael
Grace Chan
Joseph Trudeau
Monica Bissett RECE, AECEO.C
Alexandra Mazina RECE
Pat Moffatt  RECE, AECEO.C
Tracy Cobham, RECE, AECEO.C
Shirley McCoy RECE, AECEO.C
Michelle Longphee
Lucille Kelleher MEd RECE, AECEO.C
 

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