Early childhood educators are the backbone of a national childcare program
The Association of Early Childhood Education (AECEO) welcomes the announcement made yesterday by Thomas Mulcair and the Federal NDP regarding their plan to implement a national high quality and affordable childcare program if elected.
We join our colleagues in the childcare community in applauding the NDP for establishing the foundation for a national conversation around early childhood education and childcare (ECEC) leading up to the 2015 election and for their commitment to making childcare affordable for families.
Canada falls behind much of the world in its lack of a national policy on the care and education of its youngest citizens. A national policy would establish standards across the country while providing the necessary funding for the provinces to support families. As a provincial organization, we understand and acknowledge the role of the provinces in using these policies in developing and delivering childcare services that meet the local needs. We are reassured that the NDP platform commits to, “work with the provinces, territories and Indigenous communities to fund and develop national early childhood education and childcare programs delivered with common principles like affordability, availability and quality”.
The AECEO believes that a quality program is delivered by a quality work force. We therefore strongly urge that the conversation around a national childcare program include a concurrent strategy for the ECEC workforce. We know that high quality programs rely, above all else, on high quality, trained professional staff. Yet, despite the resounding evidence to this effect, wages and working conditions continue to be a challenge for large segments of the ECEC workforce.
Funding a national childcare program must include the cost of providing adequate wages and working conditions for the ECEC workforce. ECEs and the childcare workforce are the backbone of a national childcare strategy and are at the heart of high quality programs. Affordable early learning and care cannot be at the expense of ECE professionals and support staff.
The AECEO looks forward to engaging in a national conversation on childcare and will advocate for a comprehensive workforce strategy that includes decent wages and working conditions as a common principle across Canada.