In its 2021 budget the Government of Canada announced it was establishing a Canada-wide early learning and child care system and said "The federal government will work with provincial, territorial, and Indigenous partners to build a Canada-wide, community-based system of quality child care."
After thorough consultation with the Child Care and Early Years community, the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care and the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario developed a Roadmap to Universal Child Care in Ontario - toward our vision of what a Canada-wide child care system can and must be in Ontario. The Roadmap includes 20 key policy interventions to achieving universal child care in Ontario. We know this is the beginning of a journey and we want to continue to hear from you. The Roadmap contains Discussion Questions and a feedback mechanism, as well as an invitation to highlight your program and contribute Policy Briefs as we continue this collective work.
Download the Roadmap
- Invest an initial $375 million to develop and implement a province-wide Wage Grid for RECEs
and child care staff, as a first step to implementing “Growing Together: Ontario's Early Years
and Child Care Workforce Strategy.” A $25 minimum wage is required to immediately protect
and respect the early childhood workforce and address recruitment and retention issues.
- Immediately reverse $49 million in planned cuts to child care.
- Increase general operating funding by $500 million to stabilize the child care sector.
- Allocate funding to lower class sizes, ensure paid preparation time and collaborative planning
time for the Kindergarten Team, and ensure a healthy and safe work environment.
- Allocate $600 million to begin a transition to operational funding that supports low fees or no
fees for families.
- Fund 7 permanent paid sick days and additional 14 paid sick days during public health
Click HERE to read our full submission.
Our child care market system was not working before the pandemic, and it is not working now. This
market system relies on full enrolment, underpaid educators, and exorbitant parent/family fees. Many
child care programs struggle to remain operational, many have yet to reopen, and some are already
closing their doors. At the same time, many RECEs and child care workers are leaving the sector due to
increased risk and responsibility without appropriate pay and working conditions. The COVID-19
pandemic has also thrown families and their finances into disarray. Many families, predominantly
women, are being forced to make impossible decisions about balancing work and their children’s care
needs. This will not improve without intervention.
Click HERE to read the full submission.
Add your reaction
The AECEOs submission to the 5-year review on the CCEYA was an opportunity to raise the voice of ECEs and address specific areas of concern identified by the profession. We asked AECEO members what opportunities and barriers they are experiencing in practice when thinking about pedagogy, culturally relevant practice and inclusion, and what they would recommend. We heard from you that:
“I would like to see more staff in each room so that every child has the same chance of learning
and the same opportunities that they deserve.” – RECE
“Small adult:child ratios have been a wonderful way to welcome children back to care and
complete all the extra cleaning that is needed … We had participated in so much professional
learning over our 4 months away from the site, these lower ratios are allowing us to put that
theory into practice.” – RECE
“Quality Assessment tools are not culturally-relevant or even locally relevant at times. There is too
much focus on environment rather than focus on relationships educators are building with children.” – RECE
“While we are beginning to have more pedagogical conversations to build educator teams
awareness and understanding of these practices, access to the materials/resources needed to
engage in true experimentation - time, space, physical materials – continues to be a challenge” – RECE
“The most significant barrier to engaging in pedagogical thinking is that there is not enough time
to make this a priority. ECEs must prioritize cleaning, room setup and planning. Engaging in
meaningful consideration of pedagogy is a luxury for which many Educators do not have the time
or support.” - RECE
Alongside our membership consultation, and dialogues with early learning and child care sector partners, the AECEO developed the following recommendation.
We assert that the Ministry of Education must:
• Ensure professional pay and decent work for early childhood educators by enshrining in legislation a provincial wage scale, a mechanism for ongoing consultation with the EC workforce, an Early Childhood Workforce Learning Framework, and enhanced staff:child ratios.
• Rethink quality by embedding relational and ethical understandings of quality into legislation and increasing the required number of qualified staff in ELCC programs.
• Ensure access to culturally relevant pedagogy and programming by legislating recognition and respect for local and cultural knowledge and pedagogy and ensuring appropriate funding and authority to First Nations, Inuit and Metis and Francophone communities and programs.
• Begin to address systemic Anti-Black racism through legislated pre-service and in-service education, anti-racist policies and practice, and a further review of the CCEYA through an Anti-Racist lens as recommended by the Community of Black ECEs.
• Develop a comprehensive, interdisciplinary inclusion strategy that adopts the policy recommendations of the Inclusive Early Childhood Service System Project.
• Implement base-funding to licensed centre-based care and home child care agencies and introduce a moratorium on new for-profit development as a first step towards a universal child care system.
Read the full submission here.
We are concerned by some of the regulatory changes to the Child Care & Early Years Act, 2014 and the Education Act recently proposed by the provincial government that will directly impact Early Childhood Educators. We have therefore participated in the government’s Regulatory Consultations regarding those changes and submitted our response on May 17th.
Click HERE to read the AECEO's full submission.
Add your reaction
The AECEO is deeply concerned by the regulation changes to the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014, the Education Act, and the Employment Standards Act, 2000, proposed in Bill 66. These changes will lead Ontario in the wrong direction, one that compromises the quality of care and education for young children and does not contribute to purposeful system building.
RECEs benefit when they are well supported and can attend to and engage with the children in their care purposefully and meaningfully. In turn, children and families benefit from higher quality programs when RECEs are well supported and well compensated. From this perspective, we believe the government must reconsider their approach and take on their responsibility of funding and supporting early years services and RECEs.
We urge the government to withdraw Bill 66 and to engage in a full public consultation process on all of its provisions with respect to the Early Childhood Education and Care system in Ontario.
Click HERE to read the AECEO's full submission to the Standing Committee on General Government.
The AECEO fully supports the two educator model and current class sizes in Full Day Kindergarten (FDK).
An extensive body of empirical evidence documents the learning benefits of the two-educator (RECE and OCT), play-based FDK curriculum model for children’s learning. The unique and complimentary training of RECEs and OCTs working in partnership lends itself to rich educational and developmental learning opportunities for children at a critical point in their young lives. Ontario has been, and continues to be, a leader in early learning since it acted on the innovative recommendations of the commissioned report, With Our Best Future in Mind: Implementing Early Learning in Ontario, completed in 2009.
We are only now beginning to realize the benefits of Ontario’s existing FDK program for children and families. While we recognize the roll-out of a program of this size and nature would have challenges, all current evidence suggests Ontario’s unique, two educator model, play-based FDK program is significantly benefiting Ontario’s children and families.
The AECEO acknowledges that improvements are always possible in the early childhood education system – and we emphasize that government change to policy and process should be based on the highest quality research evidence, careful analyses of empirical data, and through comprehensive consultation.
We urgently call on the government to reconsider any changes it may propose to the FDK program in Ontario without reviewing the research evidence and engaging in a formal, transparent and systematized consultation with stakeholders including parents and educators.
It is imperative that Full Day Kindergarten, with the RECE-OCT educator team and a class size hard cap of twenty-six, remain universally accessible to all of Ontario’s children.
Please click here to read AECEO's full submission to the Ministry of Education's Class Size Consultation
Ministry of Education Press Conference at 8:30 a.m. March 15 will be live-streamed.