Vaccinate ECEs and child care workers

Prioritizing ECEs and child care providers for voluntary COVID-19 vaccinations makes sense - not only will it protect them, but children, families and our communities as well.

Vaccinate_ECEs_and_child_care_workers_now.jpgWe are calling on the Ontario Government to: 

  • Immediately offer vaccination to all staff and providers working in early years, child care settings and schools;
  • Increase funding to ensure the safety and well-being of educators, children and families;
  • Prevent the further loss of early years and child care programs;
  • Ensure transparent communication and collaboration with the sector.

One simple thing you can do to help amplify the calls for ECEs, child care workers and providers to receive the vaccine immediately is sign on to our Protect and Respect Open Letter here: Protect and Respect ECE

We have also seen amazing local advocacy to City Councils and local Public Health Units on accelerating the vaccine for the early childhood workforce, as in the City of Toronto where a motion was passed from the Board of Health to request the Province immediately vaccinate ECEs, child care workers and providers. We encourage you to send a letter to your local representatives. Please find below a letter template (graciously shared by the Toronto Community for Better Child Care) and a list of contact information for Ontario Mayors.

Letter Template

List of Mayors

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2021 Ontario Budget released

The AECEO is deeply disappointed in the 2021 Ontario Budget, which includes no increase in funding or supports for Early Childhood Educators, early years staff, and the early years sector. We know that COVID has exacerbated the lack of decent work and professional pay, deeply impacted educators’ pedagogical work, stress, mental health and well-being, and threatened the sustainability of many programs. We have been consistent and persistent in our advocacy, raising the voice of Early Childhood Educators and early years staff directly to the Ministry of Education. It is your experiences and stories that make undeniably clear the impact of policy and funding decisions on educators' well-being, pedagogy and practice and the experiences and well-being of children and families. We will continue to bring your voices to decision-makers and advocate together for the change we know this sector needs.  

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Province-Wide Conversation with Kindergarten ECEs

The AECEO invites you to join kindergarten educators from across the province for the next in our ongoing series ofMar_23.png Kindergarten Conversations on Tuesday March 23rd at 7:00PM.
Let's come together once again to connect and share our experiences, concerns and knowledge - and talk about how we can move forward together.

Register to join the conversation here:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUuf-qtpjsuE9PzKOkZjLZHlRwpURIV6iOY

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

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Government of Canada Child Care Workforce Study

The Social Research Division of Employment and Social Development Canada (Government of Canada) is currently conducting a qualitative research project on workforce experiences impacting recruitment and retention in licensed child care. Results from this study will inform the development of a Canada-wide workforce strategy for early childhood education. 

They are looking for participants who are working with children younger than 6 years old in licenced child care, in specific regions:

1) City of Toronto (download the English poster or download the French poster)

2) Small towns and rural areas in the counties of Nipissing/Timiskaming, Sudbury/ Manitoulin/Parry Sound, Algoma or Cochrane (download the French poster or download the English poster)

Please note that this study is based on the location where you work, rather than where you live and they have asked that when responding you specify the city in which you are working.

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Call for Submissions-eceLINK Peer Reviewed Collection

Issue: Fall 2021

 

Special issue: Post pandemic possibilities: Exploring new ideas and spaces in ECEC emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered and continues to alter ECEC in Ontario. In times of uncertainty, desperation and fear there is an understandable longing to get back to “normal”. This call asks how the pandemic may have prompted new thinking about the pre-pandemic status quo in ECEC at the program and policy level. Some topics/questions that could be explored include:

  • How have the dominant ideas about the purpose, value and scope of ECEC been challenged and/or reinforced throughout the pandemic?
  • How has the pandemic challenged the public/private (market-state-family) positioning of ECEC at the policy level in Ontario and/or Canada?
  • What can we learn from the varied responses of ECEC professionals to the pandemic as we continue to move through it and beyond?
  • Has the COVID-19 pandemic provided new ways of thinking or doing pedagogy in ECEC in Ontario?

Relevant to all of these questions is how new ideas or ways of thinking emerging out of the pandemic are having an impact on children, families and educators involved in ECEC programs and policies in Ontario.  

Submission deadline:  June 1, 2021

Download a PDF copy of the full Call for Submissions

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Early Years and Child Care Sector Flash Survey

The AECEO and OCBCC have been working to bring forward issues facing the Early Childhood Educators, staff, parents and families to the provincial and federal governments. To support our efforts, we've created a quick survey to better understand how Covid-19 is currently impacting the ELCC sector and to inform our advocacy to the Ontario and Federal governments on behalf of the ELCC sector.

To help us in this work, we ask you to please take 10 minutes to share your thoughts with us. Please also share widely in your networks. Our advocacy is better and stronger when we are united. Your voice and your needs matter to us, and they should be heard by decision makers.      
Please click HERE to take the survey.

Update on Phase 2 of Ontario's vaccine rollout

We've heard from many of you with questions about where the early years workforce fits in Ontario’s vaccine roll-out. We have been advocating for the early years workforce to be included, along with other critically important workers, in Phase 2 of the vaccine roll-out. At this time, we have had the following message from the Ontario Ministry of Education: “While there are many variables associated with immunization planning, such as vaccine supply and timing, work to-date has included child care workers as part of Phase Two of the government’s vaccine implementation plan”.

While this is a hopeful message, we are going to continue our advocacy until the inclusion of the early years workforce is concretely confirmed and to ensure that the roll-out plan best meets the needs of educators across the Province.
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Open Letter: Protect and Respect Early Childhood Education and Care

Today, the AECEO, along with our partner organization the OCBCC, are launching an open letter to Premier Ford and Minister Lecce with 10 ways they can protect and respect early childhood education and care in Ontario. We know that ECEs, early years staff, providers and operators are doing incredible work while facing many ongoing issues and challenges. We need to show our collective voice and demand policy responses that truly protect and respect our sector in the short- and long-term. Please read and sign on to the letter, and share widely amongst your networks:

Click HERE to read and sign the letter

Click HERE to download a PDF copy

Protect_and_Respect_slider_1.png

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Letter to Education Minister Stephen Lecce

We know that ECEs and early years staff have been working diligently over the last 9 months under new and challenging circumstances to ensure the health and well-being of children, while providing exceptional care and education. We are deeply concerned by the lack of acknowledgement of ECEs, early years staff and the early childhood education and care sector in the Province's recent announcement of a provincial lockdown.

We have been hearing from many of you about your concerns with both the decision to keep childcare open and the lack of communication and transparency, but also the timing of the announcement, which leaves many of you in uncertain circumstances. We have shared these concerns in our conversations with Ministry staff, and also in a letter to Education Minister Stephen Lecce. We encourage you as well to share your concerns directly with the Ministry at [email protected].Letter_to_Lecce.png

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eceLINK Fall/Winter 2020 - Now available online

In this issue:eceLINK_Fall_2020_(2)-page-001.jpg

 We would like to thank the following advertisers for helping to support this issue of the eceLINK:

ECE Qualifications Upgrade Program

School Specialty

Johnson Insurance

Read_more_button.png (AECEO Member Access)

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Stop the Child Care Changes Campaign

Unless the government changes course, their proposed regulatory changes to the Child Care and Early Years Act (CCEYA) could take effect as soon as next month. So even though their consultations are over, our fight to #StopTheChildCareChanges is more important than ever. We asked the ECEC community to show us how you feel about the changes and we are excited to share the collaborative videos created from the amazing submissions. Check back on this page as we will be sharing the videos as they are created.

We have created an email template for following up on the multitude of submissions the Ministry received. It's important for Minister Lecce to hear directly from the community because we know our voices are stronger together. The AECEO and OCBCC are preparing a series of policy briefs on the proposals to inform the community and public.

Here are your links to help you participate in this important phase of the campaign:

Video 1 No to the Child Care changes!  

Video 2  No to the Child Care changes 2!

Video 3 ECE Students say No to the Child Care changes!

Video 4 Children say No to the Child Care changes!

AECEO/OCBCC Policy briefs - new ones will be posted at this link as they are created

Email template - please customize and use to email Minister Lecce as soon as possible. 

Look up your MPP (to copy on your email to Minister Lecce)

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AECEO Submission on proposed regulatory amendments to the CCEYA

In responding to the consultation on the proposed regulatory changes to the Child Care and Early Years Act
(CCEYA), the AECEO consulted with our members and the early learning and child care (ELCC) sector to
raise the voice of ECEs, early years staff, and families and address specific areas of concern identified by the
profession.

The AECEO recommends the Ministry of Education:

  • Does not proceed with the following proposed regulatory changes:

o A1. Schedule 2 – Requirements for Age Groupings, Ratios, Maximum Group Size, and
Proportion of Qualified Staff;
o A3. Authorized Recreational and Skill Build Programs;
o B1. Qualified Employees;
o B2. Short-Term Supply Staff; and
o B3. Qualification Requirements for Child Care Centre Supervisors

  • Abandon the consideration of an registry of unlicensed home child care providers

Instead, we reassert the following recommendations from the consultation period which were not reflected in
the current regulatory posting. The Ministry of Education should:

  • 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.2

The position of the AECEO is informed by consultation with our members and the ECEC sector, facilitated
through meetings, email responses, and a community survey of over 2400 educators and families.

Click HERE to read our full submission.

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Week of Action to Stop the Child Care Changes

WoA_countdown.pngThis is the last week to share your thoughts on the proposed changes to the Child Care and Early Years Act (CCYEA). We have surveyed the sector, and the results are overwhelming in their opposition to many of the proposed changes. We know that there are many ongoing challenges our sector is facing, but the sector has spoken – this is not the way to address them.

The AECEO and OCBCC are holding a Week of Action to #StopTheChildCareChanges. We want to ensure the Ministry hears from you before the consultation period closes. We encourage you to use this opportunity to share your perspective and advocate for our profession and sector.

 Monday: Email your submission to the Ministry of Education

If you haven’t had the opportunity to email a submission to the Ministry of Education, today is the day. We have created an email template where you can personalize your response. We are asking you to include us by cc-ing ([email protected]/[email protected]). We are doing this so we can hold the Ministry accountable and to inform our formal submission.

You can find the email template HERE

Send responses to: [email protected]

Tuesday: Call your MPP!

We know that as a regulatory posting, these changes can be passed without a vote. However – we also know that MPP’s will speak up when they know their constituents are opposed to changes or they will have a negative impact on their community. Let’s call our MPPs and let them know what we think of the proposed changes to the CCEYA. Don’t know what to say? We’ve got a template to help you, but remember – your voice, experience, and ideas matter, and you are the best person to speak about how these changes will impact you and your community.

To find the phone call template, click HERE

To find your MPP, click HERE

12 pm Wednesday: LunchtimeTwitter Storm

Let’s take it to social media and remind Premier Ford, Education Minister Lecce, and the public why our sector deserves better than watered down regulations. Please share your story of how these changes will impact you, children, families, and your communities. Be sure to tag us at @AECEO and @ChildCareON and use the hashtags #RisingUpForChildCare and #StopTheChildCareChanges.

 For example:

@Sflecce + @fordnation – We need you to #StopTheChildCareChanges because (Insert your story here). We are #RisingUpForChildCare with @AECEO + @ChildCareON

 Or,

@Sflecce + @fordnation – Children, families and educators deserve better than watered down regulations. It's time to #StopTheChildCareChanges and start #RisingUpForChildCare with a national child care system! @AECEO @ChildCareON

 Or,

@Sflecce + @fordnation – It’s not quality early childhood education without the early childhood educator. It's time to #StopTheChildCareChanges and start #RisingUpForChildCare with #DecentWork for ECEs! @AECEO @ChildCareON

Thursday: Share Your Submissions

We know many individuals and organizations have made submissions to the consultation on the CCEYA. We also know the report back from the 5-year review on the CCEYA didn’t show the full story. We know many are opposed to these changes, and we need to ensure that this is visible and public. Let’s all share our submissions, through social media and our networks, to show this sector is united and strong. On Twitter please tag us at @AECEO and @ChildCareON and use the hashtags #RisingUpForChildCare and #StopTheChildCareChanges or on Facebook at @AECEOntario and @OCBCC.

Friday: Call out to the Minister of Education

Education Minister Stephen Lecce needs to hear from you – the people who will be directly impacted by the changes his Ministry is proposing. Let’s make sure, on the last day of the consultation period, he has no doubt about where we stand on the proposed changes. Let’s make sure he hears our collective voice, and he feels our ECE Power. On Friday, let’s all take a few minutes to call Minister Lecce and tell him we are opposed to changes to age ranges/group sizes/ratios and to staff qualifications. Let’s tell him why children, families and educators deserve better.

We have a template to support you – but remember, your voices and experiences matter, and they deserve to be heard. 

Ministry office: 416-325-2600

Constituency office: 647-560-9700  



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“An insult to educators, children and families”: Child care community views on the Ontario government’s proposed changes to the Child Care and Early Years Act.

CCEYA Survey Executive Summary 

CCEYA Survey Full Report

CCEYA Response Tools

Press Release

Cover_survey_report.jpgThe Ontario government is proposing changes to the Child Care and Early Years Act. The proposed regulations would make substantial changes to age ranges, staff to child ratios and group sizes (called “Schedule 2”); staff qualifications; before- and after-school programs; and discusses the introduction of an unlicensed child care registry.

The Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario and the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care carried out an online survey on the changes with 2,443 respondents (1,693 Early Childhood Educators and 741 parents with children in child care). The survey found overwhelming opposition to most of the proposed regulatory changes. Respondents were especially concerned about changes to age groups, staff to child ratios and qualifications.

Summary of findings

Age Groups, Ratios and Group Size

  • More than three quarters of respondents were opposed to all of the government’s age group and ratio proposals (“Schedule 2”):
    • 90% of respondents were opposed to combining Infant and Toddler age groups
    • 87% opposed proposed changes placing younger children into Preschool age groups
    • 81% opposed the weakening the staff to child ratio in school-age groups
    • Respondents were concerned that proposals would negatively impact the quality of child care; children’s safety and well-being; and staff well-being.

Staff qualifications

  • The majority of respondents opposed all of the proposed changes to staffing qualifications:
    • 62% opposed redefining “qualified employees” to include other training than Registered Early Childhood Educator;
    • 68% opposed allowing unqualified short-term supply staff to replace qualified staff;
    • 65% opposed relaxing a requirement that supervisors have experience in licensed child care.

Before and after school programs 

  • 48% of respondents were opposed to a proposal to remove a three hour limit from recreation programs, which would allow them to function as before- and after-school child care. Only 21% were in favour, 31% unsure;

Unlicensed child care registry

  • Many respondents expressed confusion over what this proposal would look like - including whether it would be a mandatory or voluntary registry or whether it would provide any oversight. 60.7% of respondents were either opposed or unsure of the registry, with only 39% in support.
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Proposed Regulatory Amendments to CCEYA Released

On Friday afternoon the Ministry of Education released the Proposed Regulatory Amendments resulting from the 5-year review of the Child Care and Early Years Act. There are a number of problematic proposed changes, including but not limited to proposed changes to age groupings/ratios (p. 3-4) and qualification requirements (p. 7-8) [see below].
 
We know there are long-standing issues in the child care and early years sector. However, many of these proposed amendments are not in the best interest of children, families, educators, and the future of the sector. They compromise pedagogical integrity, the safety and well-being of children and educators, and fail to acknowledge the important work of ECEs in all their settings. As the OCBCC states, “Expanding access does not have to come at the cost of quality. We continue to call on the Ford government to truly make child care a priority, to work with the federal government to build a publicly funded child care system with decent work for educators and access for all.”
 
We will use our collective voice to resist these changes. We will continue our thorough review of all the proposed amendments as we write a formal response to the regulatory posting. We will be developing supports and tools for the sector to provide their feedback to the Proposed Regulatory Amendments - look for those later this week.
 
What would these changes mean for you? We need to hear from you. Our #RisingUp stories have been highlighting the challenges we are experiencing, and showing why Ontario must be a part of a nation child care system that ensures decent work and pay for ECEs. To read the #RisingUp stories, learn how to share your story, and sign the petition visit https://www.childcareontario.org/risingup
  • A. “Flexibility and Responsiveness”
    A1. Schedule 1- Age Groupings, Ratios, Maximum Group Size, and Proportion of Qualified Staff, which reintroduces the 0-24month (infant), 24 months-5 years (preschool) model. (p. 3-4)
    A3. Authorized Recreational and Skill Build Programs, which would “allow specified Authorized Recreational and Skill Building Programs to operate for more than three consecutive hours.” (p. 6) (*Important to note, we do not disagree with providing First Nations and Urban Indigenous the legislated right to deliver Indegeous-led programming).
     
    B. “Qualification Requirements”
    B1. “Qualified Employees” which would allow non-ECE staff to be designated as Qualified Staff in the kindergarten age group, licensed junior school age group or a licensed primary/junior school age group. (p. 7-8)
    B3. “Qualification Requirements for Child Care Centre Supervisors” which would replace requirements for experience in ‘licensed child care’ with ‘children’s programming/services.’ (p. 9)
     
    Discussion Question #2: Registry of Unlicensed Child Care Providers, to which “the government is seeking feedback about how to support the delivery of child care in such settings” (p. 34)

To read the Proposed Regulatory Amendment document visit: https://www.ontariocanada.com/registry/showAttachment.do?postingId=34107&attachmentId=45856

RESPONSE TOOLKIT

Click HERE to read the AECEO's submission on the 5-year review of the CCEYA.

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Speech from the Throne

Today in the Speech From the Throne, the Federal Government announced a commitment to “a significant, long-term, sustained investment to create a Canada-wide early learning and childcare system.” This is a bold statement which shows the power of advocacy and raising our collective voice. We are proud of the work early childhood educators, early years staff and allies have done in the past months to amplify the call for systems change.  

But, the work does not end here. We must continue to raise our voices and ensure that the system we create is publicly funded, responsive, inclusive, and has decent work at the core, that educators are cared for, so they can fully engage in the important work they do with children, families, and communities. We are #RisingUpForChildCare and all educators together.

https://www.canada.ca/en/privy-council/campaigns/speech-throne/2020/stronger-resilient-canada.html

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/throne-speech-trudeau-address-2020-1.5735325

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New Report: Revisiting From Reopening to Recovery

0001_(1).jpgIn May we released “From Reopening to Recovery: A Child Care Plan for Ontario”, which included 27 recommendations for the Ontario government. Our plan and its recommendations aimed to keep children, educators and families safe, maintain confidence in the licensed child care system, and ensure stability in the sector. In June the Ontario government announced a reopening plan for the child care sector that roundly ignored this advice.

Now, two months after the province announced child care centres could reopen, only approximately half of Ontario’s child care centres have done so. We continue to hear from educators and operators across the province who feel ignored, undervalued, isolated and confused. Yet throughout the pandemic meaningful and caring pedagogical programs continue to exist; they are making the most of a difficult situation and are making it work. They are doing this in spite of inadequate policy and funding. Imagine what would be possible if educators in every program were well supported. Imagine what would be possible for children and families if the early years system in Ontario was well-funded and well-managed.

In this new report, we revisit our recommendations from Reopening to Recovery, review the government’s response and (in)action on each topic, discuss current issues, and update our recommendations.

From Reopening to Recovery

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From Reopening to Recovery: Where are we now?

Thanks to all who joined us on August 11, 2020 for our Webinar From Reopening to Recovery: Where are we now?

If you were not able to join us, the following materials were introduced/noted in the webinar.

Keep an eye out for the new report Revisiting "Reopening to Recovery": A Child Care Plan for Ontario (will be posted here), and share with your colleagues and networks.

You can find the powerpoint slides here.

You can access the Campaign Tool-kit here.

You can reach out join an AECEO Community of Practice here:

Calls to action:

Upcoming:

 

 

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eceLINK Summer 2020 - Now available online

In this issue:

 We would like to thank the following advertisers for helping to support this issue of the eceLINK:

ECE Qualifications Upgrade Program

School Specialty

University of Guelph/Humber

Johnson Insurance

Read_more_button.png (AECEO Member Access)

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A Universal Child Care System with Decent Work at its Core Must be the Goal of Ontario’s Review of the Child Care and Early Years Act

Joint Statement from the Professional Pay and Decent Work Project

It is a critical time for early childhood education and care (ECEC) in Ontario. Across the sector educators, operators, families, and allies are calling for change. The mandated 5-year review of the Child Care and Early Years Act (CCEYA) must be an opportunity to ensure that we do not go backwards, or further entrench a fragmented, market approach to vital ECEC programs. The province has allowed a short turnaround time for the public to respond. Deadline for written submissions are July 31, 2020. Letters and submissions should be sent to [email protected].

The COVID-19 pandemic has made public the failures of a market model approach in organizing and delivering ECEC programs. Where programs have adapted and responded to the pandemic, they have done so in spite of the failures of the system. The gaps and inequities that result from our current patchwork are not new, but they have become more visible as the pandemic drew attention to the lack of infrastructure to support ECEC programs.

Ontario must not be complacent about the CCEYA review. Ontario´s legislated quality standards and supports lag behind most other Canadian jurisdictions (see attached). A modern early years act is needed, one that reflects children´s entitlement to quality programs regardless of their unique abilities, cultural or ethnic origins, or family income. Parent fees would be eliminated. Regulations backed with sufficient resources would support the early childhood workforce with decent pay and working conditions.

Ontario´s market system is failing children, families, early childhood educators and early years staff as it continues to download responsibility to individual operators, educators and families without proper systems of support. To capitalize on this opportunity for change, we must see strengthened provincial legislation alongside a significant increase in both federal and provincial resources guided by a national framework that lays the groundwork for quality ECEC as an entitlement for all Canada´s children. We must ensure that any legislative change moves us towards a universally accessible, publicly funded and managed ECEC system with decent work for early childhood educators and early years staff at the core.

Educators are key to providing high-quality experiences for children. But underfunding, poor oversight and the lack of decent work in licensed child care create challenging conditions. Far from being a legislative leader in promoting quality early learning and care, Ontario´s standards lag behind those of other Canadian jurisdictions. Now is the time to strengthen, not downgrade quality in Ontaro's child care legislation.

Download the full statement.

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Take Action For Child Care

3_steps.pngThe reopening of child care in Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic has brought  many challenges and concerns for educators, families, parents, and child care allies. The Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario and the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care hear these concerns and are working to advocate for the safe and effective reopening of child care in Ontario, while considering the needs of children, parents, families, and educators. 

Recently we spoke with over 1,000 parents and educators, to build cooperation between these two groups of natural allies. We trained hundreds of ECEs and parents to meet their MPPs, to share their experiences, and use their power to directly influence change-makers. We know this strategy is effective - as we saw with the campaign to save the Wage Enhancement Grant, your stories moved politicians to action. Lastly we rallied in the thousands, virtually and in-person, raising our collective voice so that the needs of educators, children, and families are amplified as the Province moves to reopen child care. 

There is still more to be done, and we need to continue to work together, our collective voice is louder with you - we are stronger together.

Read more
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