Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario

Professional Pay & Decent Work

A Shared Vision of Decent Work 

During the first year of the Professional Pay and Decent Work Campaign, the AECEO completed eight mobilization forums across Ontario, stopping in Sault Ste. MarieScarboroughWhitbyMississaugaWaterlooBrantfordKingston and Sudbury. Through these forums, we met with over 200 ECEs and early years’ staff. These forums aimed to increase dialogue and broaden understandings of decent work in the early childhood sector while also documenting the unique HR needs and challenges of the early childhood workforce in Ontario.

From these mobilization forums, it was noted that early childhood educators, and early years’ staff working in the child care and early years’ sector should be provided with decent work across the sector. It is imperative that we as a sector shed light on the importance of a shared vision of decent work for all early childhood educators and early years’ staff; In order for us as a profession to see change, we need to use our collective voice to advocate for change. Our wellbeing is the wellbeing of children. 

Our vision of decent work includes: decent wages; full-time, stable jobs; health benefits and pension coverage no matter where they work in the sector; working conditions that support staff to provide high quality programs including safe and healthy facilities, paid preparation time, lunch breaks and access to on-going training and professional learning opportunities.

For more information on the mobilization forums and the perspective of decent work please read our final report.

MoreThanJustanECE_cover.png "I'm More Than 'Just' an ECE": Decent Work from the Perspective of Ontario's Early Childhood Workforce



What is the Professional Pay & Decent Work campaign?

Decent work for Ontario’s early childhood educators and early years’ staff is a foundational pillar in order to build a better future for children and families in Ontario. It is important for the early childhood workforce to understand why this campaign is so crucial to the progress of our sector.

As the decent work movement gains momentum in Ontario and around the world, it is important that Ontario’s early childhood workforce (EC workforce) becomes part of this broader movement for social and economic justice, fair work and compensation. This collective voice of advocacy can create a joint movement and collective action.

The AECEO continues to advocate around the Fight for $15 and Fairness and other movements for decent work to help mobilize for positive change!15_and_fair.png

Currently there are over 50,000 ECEs registered with the College of Early Childhood Educators and that number is growing. Registered ECEs work with thousands of other staff and professionals that make up the broader EC workforce. We are a vibrant, diverse and resilient group of dedicated professionals working in numerous programs that support and sustain families, children and communities and we deserve Professional Pay & Decent Work. 

Current workforce context:

  • 24 % of RECEs working in licensed child care in Ontario earn less than $15/hour
  • 45% of RECEs earn between $15-$20/hour
  • Hourly wages in FDK are higher but annual salaries still work out to be close to the same
  • RECEs working in OEYCs have not seen a raise for over a decade
  • There is a professionalization gap in the sector where the expectations and responsibilities of ECEs have increased through legislative and regulatory changes with very little improvement to wages and working conditions

Professional Pay & Decent Work Campaign

AECEO Current Campaign

This year, as part of the Professional Pay and Decent Work Campaign, The AECEO will be celebrating and showcasing the the socially important and valuable work of the EC workforce. The AECEO continue to work alongside the OCBCC, the Atkinson Centre, and Olivia Chow with the Institute for Change Leaders to promote educators, parents and staff to share their ‘child care stories’ to work collaboratively to achieve the goals of the Professional Pay and Decent Work Campaign.

From now until June 2018, The AECEO and partnering institutions will be travelling across the province to ignite leadership and organize local action to promote decent work. 

Building Skills for Change in Early Years and Child Care

Are you an ECE/early years staff, a student, a parent or a community member who is interested in taking up an active role in our Professional Pay & Decent Work campaign? Do you want to see more ECEs working together to call for improved compensation and working conditions in the early years sector?

The curriculum teaches emerging leaders how to:

  • Tell your story to persuade and motivate others
  • Recruit and retain volunteers
  • Structure your team of leaders for growth
  • Strategize and choose tactics that build power and move decision makers
  • Fundraise, go viral on social media, and more

Participants will take away skills and knowledge that can be used to organize Communities of Practice (CoP) and promote leadership among teams in a variety of early years settings.

Task Force

In conjunction with this year’s campaign, a Task Force under the leadership and direction of Bernice Cipparone-McLeod has been created. This Task Force is comprised of ECEs, researchers, academics and experts. The Task Force has been assigned two key functions, they are:

    1. Develop policy recommendations to address issues and challenges that were documented during our Mobilization Forums in 2016;
    2. Develop a Decent Work Charter for employers to endorse to support our Shared Vision of Decent Work in the Early Years and Child Care sector
The Task Force will release a draft of the recommendations in Fall 2017 followed by webinar consultation with AECEO members on these proposed recommendations. It is integral that AECEO members from across Ontario participate in ensuring that Ontario RECEs have ample opportunity to participate in the process of change in the sector.

The Task Force aims to publish and promote the Decent Work Charter in Fall 2017. This will be followed by a strategic endorsement plan to establish a collective call for action within the sector.

Task Force Members

For more information on members of the task force click here

Why is the AECEO leading this campaign?

The Professional Pay for Professional Work campaign was officially launched following a very well attended forum on the issue of compensation for the early childhood workforce held at our 2013 provincial conference in Toronto. A panel of experts confirmed what research tells us about the lack of adequate compensation for ECE professionals – low compensation undermines quality. Since then, our campaign has continued to develop and implement strategies to address the wages and working conditions of RECEs and the broader early childhood workforce in Ontario.

The overarching goal of the campaign is to address the long-standing issue of low and inequitable compensation for early childhood educators in Ontario. This campaign calls on the government to fund professional pay for all ECEs in Ontario regardless os where they work. Professional pay should reflect ECEs' specialized training, the value of their work and their participation in continuous professional learning. No ECE should have to work for less that a professional wage and all ECEs should be recognized for their professional qualifications and practice.

The justification for the AECEO’s focus on professional pay is outlined in an article by Dr. Rachel Langford that was featured in eceLINK summer/fall 2013 which also included short articles by expert panelists Martha Friendly, Petr Varmuza and Shellie Bird.

Professional Pay for Professional Work: How do we get there?

By Dr. Rachel Langford, RECE, AECEO President (2012-2014)

The AECEO’s success in establishing a regulatory college for Ontario early childhood educators and creating a legislated professional credential for ECEs was a fundamental achievement in our mission to improve compensation and career opportunities for all early childhood educators in the province. Now, with the Ministry of Education’s focus on modernizing Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) in Ontario, the time is right to initiate the next steps in resolving these long-standing issues.

The recent “You Bet We Still Care” report substantiated the need for better wages for ECE professionals if we are ever to tackle the issue of recruitment and retention. Yet there are many challenges ahead and varying opinions on what, and how, the issue of professional pay for ECEs should be addressed.

When the AECEO board decided to focus its advocacy work on Professional Pay for Professional Work, we knew that we would face many challenges. Some of these challenges might be called distractions.

In the case of claims for Professional Pay for Professional Work and a drive towards realizing this goal we will be challenged by both distractions and possibly driven to distraction by some roadblocks.

We have identified three distractions that many of us have been vulnerable to and some of which AECEO board members have discussed. Some of these distractions may be hard to hear but it is important to put them on the table for discussion.

Read full article here

The Professional Pay for Professional Work campaign continued to gain momentum with an in-depth article by Shellie Bird and Shani Halfon, Piecemeal Solutions Get Piecemeal Results: Addressing Wages in Regulated Child Care in Ontario and the launch of the AECEO’s petition for Professional Pay.

Our goal for the petition is to reach 10,000 signatures – sign your name today and add your voice to the movement for professional pay and decent work for the early childhood workforce! 

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  • commented 2017-10-13 17:24:28 -0400
    I am working towards becoming an RECE. But I think we should be paid $25 and up. We work so hard to take care and educate other people’s children. Our job is not just “babysitting job.” We are required to observe children, teach them self-regulation, teach them about morals and values etc. We have to face bitter parents who blames us for everything. So YES, YES and YES I am signing this petition. #professionalpay #Decentwork #RECE
  • commented 2017-08-30 10:16:55 -0400
    Early Childhood Educators should be identified as qualified professionals!! Professionals should be payed professionally for their decent work!!
  • commented 2017-06-11 12:34:31 -0400
    Respect your ECE for all equal rights.
  • commented 2017-06-03 20:11:14 -0400
    I am with you for a decent work and professional pay according to our Education.