A Plan for Child Care Reopening in Ontario and Moving to a Publicly Funded System
On May 19th, the Ontario government announced that “a gradual reopening of child care is expected to begin when the province is ready to transition to Stage 2 based on public health criteria”. In response, and informed by sector consultation, public health guidelines and recommendations, and a scan of the best available evidence from other jurisdictions, the AECEO and the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care have developed recommendations "From Reopening to Recovery: A plan for child care reopening in Ontario and moving to a publicly funded system" with the goal of ensuring:
- A safe reopening
- Adequate funding and support for educators and programs; and
- A strengthened child care system at the core of economic and social recovery.
Ensuring that these recommendations are enacted across Ontario will require concerted and determined community advocacy. We need every partner and ally to demand nothing less than a safe, supported reopening that protects children, families, educators, early years staff and programs.
Please go HERE to send an email to your federal and provincial representatives supporting a safe reopening and recovery.
Child care centres across Ontario have been closed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This report sets out the steps needed to ensure the safe, healthy reopening of child care. To achieve this, we need adequate funding and support for educators and programs. With this support, a strengthened child care system could be the core of economic and social recovery.
Today, the Province has not put the necessary support in place. The early years and child care sector is unheard, unrecognized, underfunded and, therefore, unprepared. RECEs and early years staff want to return to work but are very concerned about what it will look like. Some of their most urgent concerns are:
- Being able to protect themselves while at work;
- Having the appropriate staff, resources, and support to implement new health and safety protocols in their program; and
- Their program’s ability to access supplies and implement new health and safety procedures.
Based on our extensive consultation with the early years and child care sector this report presents 27 detailed recommendations to ensure a safe and healthy reopening and recovery. They provide in-depth advice to government on the need for transparency, health assurances, guidelines, access to space, testing, safety supplies and equipment, funding, employment conditions, communication, and training.
- We call for meeting or exceeding current best practices in Emergency Child Care for reopening, including greatly reduced groups sizes and enhanced staff to child ratios, and full base funding for child care programs.
- We estimate that this approach will mean tripling the child care budget. We need the federal and provincial government to work together to ensure that the necessary funding and policy is in place.
We cannot stop at reopening. Early learning and child care programs must be a priority for both economic and social recovery:
- The economic recession triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic is disproportionately impacting women. Programs to support women’s employment must be at the heart of Canada’s plans for economic recovery.
- To properly support a generation of young children to recover from the trauma of the Covid-19 pandemic requires Canada to finally treat child care as a priority, rather than an afterthought.
Our children and families – and the educators that support them – deserve no less.
Download the Full Report HERE
Download the Executive Summary HERE
From Reopening to Recovery Webinar Video
From Reopening to Recovery Webinar Presentation
Ontario Child Care Parents Webinar Video
Ontario Child Care Parents Webinar Presentation
Next steps in advocating for a safe plan for the ECE sector:
- Webinar June 10th at 1 p.m. - How to meet your MPP: Click HERE to register