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

To sign the open letter send your name and details to: childcareletter@gmail.com

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.    

Signed,

Organizations

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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  • commented 2016-03-17 12:02:30 -0400
    Laura Doucette, RECE, Sudbury
  • commented 2016-03-17 11:26:24 -0400
    Dilshad Kershaw
  • commented 2016-03-17 10:13:15 -0400
    Cecilia Cicchelli RECE
  • commented 2016-03-17 08:50:20 -0400
    As a future RECE (1 more month) and a parent to a 2 1/2 year old, I could not picture the environment change in each room. Imagine a 9, 10 month old starting in the infant room, and within 3 months, that secure attachment is broken-an unnecessary transition-not only making it hard for the child, but for the parents. Imagine a 12 month old in a room full of mobile toddlers. A 12 month old, developmentally, is NOT a toddler. Materials in the room will most likely be taken away, (not just art-like pompoms, glue, playdough, even the physical set up of the room), but also the freedom of the children to express themselves will be taken away. I wish the province would look at our profession more seriously and at a professional level-would you tell a builder how to build a house? We as RECE/ECE/ECA are supporting families and children’s development/well-being through our knowledge-and these regulations are NOT best practice. If these regulations go through, (hopefully not), many infant programs will close-WORKING MOMS NEED INFANT ROOMS OF PROPER AGE!! How do you expect women to contribute to the economy if you keep handing out setbacks for us? If I have a second child, I would never put them into childcare if these regulations pass-and CHILDREN NEED QUALITY CHILDCARE PROGRAMS!!

    Nina-Marie Mariconda
  • commented 2016-03-17 08:46:05 -0400
    Brooke Walter, Parent
  • commented 2016-03-17 08:43:33 -0400
    Diana Chow, RECE
  • commented 2016-03-17 01:33:06 -0400
    I am totaly aganst the sugested changes. I am an RECE and an Aunt to a 1 year old and worrie about the saftey of the children.
    Vanessa Blackie (RECE)
  • commented 2016-03-17 00:33:23 -0400
    Shannon Hazell, ECE student
  • commented 2016-03-16 22:30:30 -0400
    Lillian Moodie-Thomas – RECE
    I cannot imagine a proposal that would endanger the safety of a 12 month old who may just be starting to stand on his own for a few seconds by putting him with 18 – 24 month old children who can run and jump and climb. This is a dangerous situation can cannot be allowed to happen.
  • commented 2016-03-16 21:11:43 -0400
    I am an RECE supporting a preschool class. This proposal has to be stopped! It is not advocating for children, families or teachers!
  • commented 2016-03-16 21:02:39 -0400
    Crystal McGill ECE this is a very poor decision with serious reprocussions In the future, I sincerely hope this does not pass, as an educator and mother it makes me sick to my stomach to think about these proposed changes to the education system of early educators. My daughter (though she loves being in the toddler room is still not ready to become a full time student in that program and she is 16 months…it is very sad and frustrating to comprehend the thought process that went in to this decision making. Please reconsider these decisions.
  • commented 2016-03-16 20:46:49 -0400
    Barb Mortley, RECE
  • commented 2016-03-16 20:42:00 -0400
    Victoria Dillon, RECE
    I am a toddler teacher who knows how rambunctious 18-24 month olds can be, having this age group mix with infants (12 months) non walkers is very dangerous! I strongly disagree with the purposed changes!
  • commented 2016-03-16 20:20:03 -0400
    Jennifer Hill, RECE
  • commented 2016-03-16 20:12:37 -0400
    Catherine Mastromartino, RECE
  • commented 2016-03-16 19:59:16 -0400
    Debra Jerome, RECE

    The proposed changed will decrease quality, increase the cost and does not provide children with enough proper supervision. There will also be more injuries as walkers and non walkers are going to be in the same room. 12 month and 2 year olds require very different needs and will not be meet with the proposed changes.
  • commented 2016-03-16 19:58:32 -0400
    Zainab Ali, RECE
  • commented 2016-03-16 19:23:15 -0400
    Jessica Smith, RECE
  • commented 2016-03-16 18:29:07 -0400
    Jessica Munro-Smith, RECE.
  • commented 2016-03-16 17:12:52 -0400
    Dan Gartshore
  • commented 2016-03-16 16:44:15 -0400
    the proposed act will do nothing to improve quality but it will increase the cost, make spaces less available and make burn out higher for staff.
  • commented 2016-03-16 16:23:09 -0400
    Jennifer Henderson, RECE
  • commented 2016-03-16 15:54:56 -0400
    Susan Lalonde R.E.C.E. C. we need to let the Premier know that we care about Ontario’s children and our future ! A room with children aged 12 months to 24 months is not safe. A combined room with 12 month old non walkers and 24 month old active 2 year olds is not a safe one for the 12 month old. Two year olds run, jump, tumble and the non walker cannot move quickly enough to avoid a boisterous 24 month old. I am an infant room teacher and the prospect is very unnerving.
  • commented 2016-03-16 15:48:17 -0400
    Martina Woodley, RECE
  • commented 2016-03-16 15:46:07 -0400
    Jennifer Conforzi RECE
  • commented 2016-03-16 15:41:39 -0400
    The proposed govt. act will be harmful to children and RECE who are already underpaid, under recognized as professionals.
    Be smart look at the dramatic effects on children if you are successful in your proposal.
    Consider all the innocent the children.
  • commented 2016-03-16 15:32:13 -0400
    Marilyn Ogden. E.C.E.
  • commented 2016-03-16 15:10:40 -0400
    Tracy-Ann Brown-Chung RECE
  • followed this page 2016-03-16 14:52:18 -0400
  • commented 2016-03-16 14:42:21 -0400
    Shermineh Shams