Open letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne about proposed changes to staff: child ratios and group sizes in Ontario child care centres

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Dear Premier Wynne:

We are Ontario parents, educators, service providers, academics and community members. We are very concerned about some of the regulatory changes your government has proposed that would affect child care centres. We are especially troubled by the changes to age group composition that will have the effect of reducing staff: child ratios and increasing group sizes.

We believe that these will have two negative outcomes: first, they will erode the quality of care that is so important for young children. Second, the changes will have a negative impact on accessibility, making much-needed spaces, particularly for infants, even less financially and practically viable than now.  

Expert opinion shows the proposed ratios/group size regulations for children aged 12-18 months and 24-30 months to be below even minimum recommended quality standards and lower than almost all other Canadian jurisdictions. This would mean that young children in child care would be cared for by too few adults in too-large groups.

It is hard to argue that a two year old with the proposed 1:8 adult: child ratio in a group of 24 is in a “quality” or even a safe environment.  While we are pleased with the proposal to increase the number of Registered Early Childhood Educators, research suggests that an increase in trained staff is not a trade-off for decent ratios and group sizes.  Additionally, the already-stretched, underpaid, 97% female child care workforce cannot continue to pick up the slack for massive gaps in public financing.  

Your government contends that these changes are necessary because they will “increase access”. To the contrary, analyses by public entities and community service providers show that “new” infant rooms with a younger, narrower age range at a very high fee will close and that there will be severe financial and practical effects that affect service viability across age groups.

We recognize that there are good reasons to make changes in early childhood education and care (ECEC) in Ontario.  But we believe that these must be based on the best available evidence about what is of most benefit to children and families; we argue that these proposed changes are not. Additionally, we suggest that changes in ECEC in Ontario will continue to have negative effects if they continue to be “piecemeal”.

Thus, we propose that your government needs to withdraw proposed changes to age ranges, ratios and group sizes. Instead we recommend that the government develop a well-considered road map that begins with a clear vision, goals/objectives, targets and timetables, with regulatory changes as one part of this plan. This would have a better chance for successful policy change. We also call on Ontario to play a positive leadership role with the new federal Liberal government and other provinces/territories in developing the high quality universal integrated ECEC system that so many have been seeking for so long.    



Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care
Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario
Campaign 2000 - Ontario
Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario
Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 2484 Child Care Workers
Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada
Childcare Resource and Research Unit
Family Service Toronto
Ontario Federation of Labour
Toronto Coalition for Better Child Care

Child care centres and service providers

Pat Schulz Child Care Centre, Toronto
University of Guelph Child Care & Learning Centre, Guelph
East Toronto Village Children’s Centre, Toronto 
First Adventure Child Development Centre, Belleville
Red Apple Day Care, Toronto 
Mathew-John Day Care Centre, Toronto
Plains Rd Child Care Centre, Toronto
ABC Day Nursery, Windsor
Sector leaders, researchers and academics
Sheila Olan-Maclean, President, Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care
Noreen McChesney, President, Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario
Martha Friendly, Executive Director, Childcare Resource and Research Unit
Anita Khanna, Director of Social Action and Community Building, Family Service Toronto and National Coordinator, Campaign 2000
Fred Hahn, President, Canadian Union of Public Employees
Carrie Lynn Poole-Cotnam, CUPE Ontario Social Services Committee Chair
Chris Buckley, President, Ontario Federation of Labour
Patty Coates-Jarvis, Secretary-Treasurer, Women's Committee Chair, Ontario Federation of Labour
Shellie Bird, Child Care Coordinator, Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Ottawa
Janet Davis, Toronto City Councillor
Professor Donna S. Lero, PhD, Jarislowsky Chair in Families and Work, University of Guelph
Petr Varmuza, PhD Candidate, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
Tricia van Rhijn, PhD, RECE, Assistant Professor of Family Relations & Human Development, University of Guelph
Kathleen Brophy PhD, Professor Emerita, Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, University of Guelph
Kathleen Lahey, Professor, Faculty of Law, Queen's University, Kingston Ont.
Rachel Langford PhD, Director, School of Early Childhood Studies, Ryerson University.
Dr. Patrizia Albanese, Professor, Department of Sociology, Ryerson University. 
Kathryn Underwood, Associate Professor, Early Childhood Studies, Ryerson University
Rianne Mahon, CIGI Chair and Professor, Balsillie School of International Affairs and Department of Political Science, Wilfrid Laurier University
Dasha Shalimo, RECE, PhD, Professor, Early Childhood Education, Sheridan Institute for Technology and Advanced Learning
Dr. Elaine Winick, RECE, Professor, School of Early Childhood, George Brown College, Toronto
Monica Lysack, RECE, Professor of Early Childhood Education, Sheridan College, Oakville 
Goranka Vukelich, RECE, Chair, Child, Youth & Community Development, Conestoga College, Kitchener 
Andrea Ferguson, RECE, Professor of Early Childhood Education, Seneca College, Toronto
Brooke Richardson, B.A, M.A, ECME, Instructor, School of Early Childhood Studies, Ryerson University
Karen Chandler, Professor, Early Childhood Education, George Brown College
Evelina Lukaszyk, M.A., RECE, Instructor, School of Early Childhood Studies, Ryerson University & George Brown College
Early childhood education and care champions
Carolyn Ferns, Public Policy Coordinator, Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care
Lyndsay Macdonald, Coordinator, Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario
Jane Mercer, Coordinator, Toronto Coalition for Better Child Care
Viktoria Bitto, Membership Coordinator, Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care
Christina Gilligan, National Representative, Canadian Union of Public Employees
Lorna Reid, Director, University of Guelph Child Care and Learning Centre
Bethany Grady, RECE, Research Officer, Childcare Resource and Research Unit
Alana Powell, RECE, Toronto
Teresa Burke, RECE, Executive Director, Peterborough
Debbie Milne RECE, Executive Director, Belleville
Laura Thompson, Vice Chair, OPSEU Provincial Women's Committee
Kim Gilbert, RECE, Parent, CUPE Social Service Workers Coordinating Committee Child Care Representative, Windsor
Lisa Tjernstrom, RECE 
Ruth Huston, RECE, Program Manager, York Child Development, Newmarket  
Chanequa Cameron, RECE, Toronto   
Laura Coulman, RECE, Child Care Planning and Policy Analyst, County of Wellington
Sue Parker, Membership Administrator, Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario 
Lena DaCosta, Events and Communications, Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario 
Jola Sadocha, Supervisor, Mathew-John Day Care Centre
Kim Crawford, Associate Supervisor, Matthew-John Day Care Centre
Viorica Ilie, RECE
Samantha Smith, RECE
Alicia Mastandrea, RECE
Irene Georgopoulos
Nuna Ly, RECE
Elvira Mendoza
Eraneea Muthra
Natalia Iwanek
Angela Dixon, RECE
Yanika Wong, RECE
Ann-Kristin Bito, RECE
Eva Weber, RECE
Naomi Weerasoorija, RECE
Cecilia Cianflocca, RECE
Cathy O'Toole, RECE
Tim Bullen
Natasha O'Toole
Rhyen McGill
Anne O'Toole
Gary O'Toole
Eve Mate, RECE
Carolyn Brennan, RECE
Linda Rothman
Debra Deonarine, RECE
Jennifer Schettler, RECE
Tanya Harrison, RECE
Carlso Garrido, RECE
Suriya Abdulhai, RECE
Hae Won Lee
Baole Liu Le, RECE
Philip Drube, parent
Ran Salam, parent
Dasantila Kotra, parent
Linh Luu, parent
Georgina Sayno, parent
Ali Khan, parent
Renne Maynard, parent
Kaye Holmes, RECE
Filomena Lacaria RECE
Karen Anthony, RECE
Donna Spreitzer, RECE
Jeanette Da Costa, RECE
Aisha Scales, parent, Board Vice Chair from St. Lawrence Coop Day Care Inc.
Yomi Bailey, RECE
Susan Snook, RECE  

Showing 120 reactions

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  • Paula Meissner
    commented 2016-03-29 11:29:02 -0400
    I have experienced first hand what it’s like having your child in a room that is older than him as daycare facilities are allowed 3 children from 15 -17 months in a toddler room (under current legislation ). My son is the youngest in a room of 13 and he has had more accidents than I care to mention. I have since transferred him to another daycare that has smaller class sizes so that his health isnt in jeopardy.
    I’m floored to hear about these changes and oppose them wholeheartedly.
  • Ricardo Salazar
    commented 2016-03-29 10:41:38 -0400
    I am strongly opposed to the changes – Ricardo, Parent
  • Sumaia Malek
    commented 2016-03-28 23:09:02 -0400
    member of AECO and RECE defenetly not a great idea
  • Sumaia Malek
    commented 2016-03-28 23:09:02 -0400
    member of AECO and RECE defenetly not a great idea
  • Sonia Holden
    commented 2016-03-28 22:51:10 -0400
    The proposed changes to ratio and group ages are detrimental for children, and the teachers who provide care. Having the ability to have a non walking 10 month old baby in a toddler group makes no sense. We need to support HDLH by making age groupings and class sizes that make sense.
  • Christine Hess
    commented 2016-03-28 19:28:44 -0400
    Opposed to proposed changes – Christine Hess, Parent
  • Barb Parkes
    commented 2016-03-28 18:44:47 -0400
    Changing the ages and ratios will close down nursery schools with the added expense of running them and the loss of revenue from the change in ratios.
  • Tricia Rae
    commented 2016-03-28 17:03:20 -0400
    Tricia Rae RECE
  • April Ische
    commented 2016-03-28 15:48:49 -0400
    This will out infant and toddler programs out of reach for many parents. Also, a two year old in with five year olds in a class up to 24 kids is ludicrous. I would never send my child into a situation like that.
  • Jolene MacDonald Szabo
    commented 2016-03-28 09:34:35 -0400
    Too many will be suffering due to these changes. Do not pass this.
  • Eugema Ings
    commented 2016-03-26 19:45:41 -0400
    I am strongly opposed to the proposed recommendations. Eugema Ings RECE,AECEO.C
  • Natasha Mitchell
    commented 2016-03-25 16:48:44 -0400
    Strongly oppose! Natasha Mitchell -parent
  • Dana Burke
    commented 2016-03-25 11:39:08 -0400
    Dana Burke RECE
  • Nicole Grove
    commented 2016-03-25 10:51:48 -0400
    Nicole grove parent
  • Angela Baker
    commented 2016-03-25 08:24:52 -0400
    Keep ratios the same ! Quality care will suffer as a result of the proposed changes. Our children deserve the very best!!!
  • Tina Thompson
    commented 2016-03-24 22:48:43 -0400
    Please reconsider making any sort of change to the ratios in childcare. These children deserve quality care, and by changing the ratios as well as changing the age groupings we are taking away their early childhood. Lets give these incredible children the opportunity to be amazing…let’s give them the chance to hit their own developmental milestones when it is right for them, when they’re ready. Why are you wanting to push them to grow up so quickly…it will be a huge disservice to children and educators to change the ratios and age groupings in childcare!
  • Jana Philipp
    commented 2016-03-24 22:45:24 -0400
    Due to the proposed changes significantly threatening accessible, affordable, and high-quality child care, I oppose the proposal.
    -Jana Philipp, ECE Student
  • Marja-Leena Stott
    commented 2016-03-24 22:09:23 -0400
    Ratios keep kids safe and well cared for. Make your cuts elsewhere. Childcare is an embarrassment in this province. Look at what our European counterparts do with childcare. We can do better for our littlest citizens.
  • Diann Maslin
    commented 2016-03-24 20:09:44 -0400
    Please reconsider ratios, M. Diann Ferguson Maslin, RECE
  • Melissa Rose
    commented 2016-03-24 18:14:16 -0400
    Melissa Rose RECE
  • Pamela Putnins-Robinson
    commented 2016-03-24 15:31:24 -0400
    Please add me too.
  • Bethany Hartin
    commented 2016-03-24 14:27:16 -0400
    I would also like to sign this, but am having trouble sending an email. Please add my name to the list. Bethany Hartin (RECE)
  • Dinah Murdoch
    commented 2016-03-24 13:32:35 -0400
  • Colleen Carpentier-Trask
    commented 2016-03-24 13:21:51 -0400
    Colleen Trask – parent
  • Jenn Emm
    commented 2016-03-24 11:05:07 -0400
    Jennie Moskalik – parent
  • Tanya Theresa
    commented 2016-03-24 09:53:13 -0400
    Tanya Worsley, parent
  • Crystal Ann
    commented 2016-03-24 09:31:19 -0400
    Crystal rye RECE
  • Michelle Sauder
    commented 2016-03-24 08:35:47 -0400
    Michelle Sauder, RECE
  • Liza Luu-Mercado
    commented 2016-03-23 22:21:56 -0400
    Liza Luu, parent
  • Ashley Williams
    commented 2016-03-23 15:43:51 -0400
    Ashley Williams, parent