January 22, 2016
The Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario (AECEO) is pleased that the Minister of Education confirmed in her statement today that the Ontario Government will fulfill its commitment to provide a $1 wage increase for early childhood educators in 2016. This illustrates their awareness of issues related to recruitment, retention and remuneration that continue to impact the sector and demonstrates that efforts are being made to address them.
The AECEO has heard from many early childhood educators (ECEs) and employers across Ontario that the implementation of the grant program in 2015 was not only administratively burdensome and complicated (with no concurrent funding allocation to cover the administrative expense), but also resulted in wage inequities within programs and across the sector, as staff in family resource and support programs were not covered. We ask that the Ministry address these difficulties in 2016.
While a very welcomed acknowledgement and support for early childhood workforce wages, this grant does not address the systemic undervaluing of ECEs as professionals and will continue to result in low wages and inequitable working conditions across the sector. Without a comprehensive approach that recognizes and supports the professional status and work of all ECEs we will continue to see qualified and talented professionals leave the field. Until the Province acknowledges and takes action to fully fund a high quality system, the tension between wages and parent fees will continue to keep wages low.
The AECEO will continue to engage our members and mobilize the ECE workforce through our Professional Pay for Professional work campaign. We have also worked hard to develop a discussion paper Regional Wage Scales for RECEs Working in Regulated Childcare in Ontario that provides a platform for discussing regional wage scales as a solution to address the on-going issues around compensation in the regulated childcare sector.
We recommend that in order to get at the root of these persistent concerns, the Government of Ontario develop a comprehensive workforce strategy for ECEs to address the systemic issues of low wages, inconsistent working conditions, high turnover, and job dissatisfaction that plague early childhood education and care in Ontario.
With a new federal government in Ottawa that has committed to working with provinces, territories and Indigenous communities on a new National Early Learning and Child Care Framework we expect more than half measures from the province of Ontario to address systemic issues of recruitment, retention and remuneration of a well-trained professional ECE workforce.
Ontario Increasing Wages for Early Childhood Educators - Ministry of Education