Written Submission to:
The House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities regarding Bill C 35, An Act respecting early learning and child care in Canada.
From: Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario, submitted March 17 2023
The Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario (AECEO) is the professional association for Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) in Ontario. We support ECEs in their professional practice and support the recognition and appropriate compensation of the profession. Our members work throughout Ontario in programs for young children and their families, including regulated home and centre-based child care, full-day kindergarten, family resource programs and support services for children with disabilities, among others.
The AECEO has long called for a publicly funded, high quality, universal child care system in Ontario, and across Canada – one that is affordable for all families and that ensures professional pay and decent work for the early childhood workforce. We welcomed the federal government’s commitment in Budget 2021 to build a Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care system, and strongly support a legislative framework that ensures publicly funded, high quality and accessible child care is available to all Canadians for many years to come.
Since 1950, the AECEO has worked to build the collective voice for educators across the province, so they can participate in and influence positive change that benefits ECEs, children, families, and communities. Early Childhood Educators, early years staff and child care providers are the heart of our child care system and are experts at cultivating, co-creating, and advocating for high quality child care programs for young children and families. However, the work of ECEs, a highly racialized and feminized workforce, has historically not been respected, valued or well-remunerated through legislation or child care policy decisions across Canadian jurisdictions. This has resulted in a widespread workforce crisis, in which qualified and experienced ECEs and child care workers are leaving the sector, and graduates of ECE post-secondary programs are not entering the profession due to poor pay and lack of decent working conditions. We call on the federal government to enshrine their support for ECEs and their commitment to decent working conditions for all ECEs and child care staff in Bill C-35 and in ensuing policies.