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As this public health emergency unfolds we know many educators and early years staff have questions related to work and financial support. Here is the best information we can gather at this time.
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As the professional association for Registered Early Childhood Educators in Ontario, the AECEO is deeply concerned about the health and well-being of early childhood educators as the COVID-19 situation unfolds. In addition, the lack of decision-making and leadership from the Ministry of Education in providing clear direction to the child care and early years sector, subsequent to the closure of Ontario Public Schools, is highly problematic.
We are concerned that increased demand for the care of children who cannot attend their regular program/school may fall disproportionately to underpaid early childhood educators and other low-waged care workers. This also highlights the devaluation of care work and the incohesive ‘system’ that continues to make care an individual as opposed to collective responsibility.
The lack of decent work for early childhood educators amplifies pressures to attend work despite feeling ill, emergent need to care for family members, or other reasons related to COVID-19. In order to care-well for our communities, we need structures in place which ensure that early childhood educators and other early years staff are safe, healthy, and experience well-being through decent work.
As such we call on the Provincial Government to immediately:
· Make a clear decision and consider all best measures to ensure public health and well-being, including early childhood educators and early years staff.
· Ensure all early childhood educators and early years staff have protection for lost wages and work due to COVID-19
· Protect child care and early years programs and parents from lost income due to COVID-19.
· Ensure income and job protection for educators and parents affected by COVID-19
· Provide the early years and child care sector clear next steps.
· Implement adequate paid sick days for all workers.
· Restore 10 days of job-protected emergency leave days for all workers.
· Prevent employers from asking workers to provide doctors’ notes when they access paid sick days or job protected emergency leave.
As well, we call on the Federal Government to implement emergency measures to increase access to Employment Insurance (EI) and create an emergency fund for those experiencing a loss or interruption of earnings, and for those who cannot access EI.
In a recent memo, the Ministry of Education has clarified that, “The Ministerial Order does not apply to child care … Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams is asking that all licensed child care centres actively check children, parents, staff and visitors for any symptoms and ask about recent travel history that may be related to COVID-19. It is critical that we keep COVID-19 out of our child care spaces.” The AECEO acknowledges the collective responsibility of all citizens to protect community health. However, downloading responsibility to combat COVID-19 to individual early childhood educators, childcare workers, and programs, is highly negligent and inappropriate.
We urgently call on the Ontario government to take full responsibility for ensuring public well-being, including that of early childhood educators and early years staff.
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The College of Early Childhood Educators (The College) has recently proposed reviewing their entry to practice requirements and the establishment of additional membership categories. Consultation has begun with subject matter experts and employers, requesting feedback on their Modernizing Membership proposals. The College has communicated that they are in the preliminary stages of consultation, and broader feedback will be collected in a future phase.
The AECEO is consulting our members, so that they may share their thoughts, concerns, or questions regarding the Modernizing Membership proposals with us. We will reflect those thoughts in our own feedback to the College regarding these changes. Please send responses to [email protected] by March 13, 2020.
This consultation process takes the form of three online surveys that can be completed after watching three 9-15 minute videos.
The first video concerns a proposed new requirement for registration with the College. The College is proposing that it establish a 15 hour online learning “module” entitled Preparation for Regulated ECE Practice (PREP) as an additional requirement for registration. The intent of this registration requirement is to assure the College “that before an ECE begins practising in Ontario, they have sufficient knowledge and understanding of what it means to be an ECE and what an ECE's responsibilities in Ontario are.”
The second presentation and survey concern a proposed new membership group for ECEs. Specifically, the College is proposing developing an Extended Class of membership entitled “Extended Class – Supervision Specialty”. The video states that supervision and administration in the EYCC sector requires additional knowledge and skill. To register with the College in an Extended Class – Supervision Specialty, applicants would require, “A minimum of three years of post-secondary education that includes successful completion of a graduate certificate program in early childhood administration in Ontario”. The College would establish a set of additional standards of practice for the Supervision Specialty which members of this class must uphold. Further, members of the Extended Class - Supervision Specialty would be required to participate in the College’s Continuous Professional Learning (CPL) program with specific requirements for ECE (Extended Class – Supervision Specialty) members.
Mentioned in the French videos and transcript is an additional proposal for the College to create a category for early childhood resource consultants who are not ECEs and therefore do not meet the College’s current registration requirements. To register for this category, applicants must have completed training in early childhood education or in a field related to early childhood resource counseling services.
The final video presents the College’s proposal to establish a Non-Practising Class for ECEs. To maintain membership with the College, members of this Non-Practising Class would pay an annual renewal. These members would be allowed to use the titles of RECE or ECE but would be required to specify that they were part of the Non-Practising Class. These members would be prohibited from practising Early Childhood Education in Ontario as long as they were in the Non-Practising Class. It is stated that the College is “still considering whether it would require Non-Practising Class members to participate in CPL”.
Please note, these are summaries of the proposal initiatives. The full transcripts and links to complete the surveys can be accessed here, and will be available until Friday, March 13th.
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On March 7th the AECEO brought together over 200 educators to think, learn, and discuss at the Framing Our Future Kindergarten Summit. From the opening words of Decent Work advocate Jenn Miller, to the rousing call to action from Olivia Chow, the event focused on possibilities and solutions for decent work in Full Day Kindergarten.
Participants were able to learn from educators with lived experience in many areas, and took part in profound discussion throughout the day. Our organisation was able to learn much from participants, and we are grateful to all those who attended.
Participant feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with comments such as "I'm not the only one who feels this way", and "We need to work together to change the system for everybody".
Many participants have already signed up to join FREE online leadership training with Olivia Chow and her team, this training (the first of many opportunities to gain leadership and advocacy skills) is aimed specifically at educators in the FDK system.We invite those of you who couldn't make it to the summit to register for this opportunity to stay connected (and to participate in no-cost CPL) sign up here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/icl-x-aeceo-online-training-ser…
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As part of the AECEO and the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care's project on Early Learning and Child Care Human Resources Innovation and Decent Work, we are pleased to present our new HR Innovation Toolkit.
The HR Innovation Toolkit begins to address recruitment and retention challenges in early learning and child care (ELCC) across Canada by sharing innovative tools and wise practices that advance decent work. Informed by our National Network on ELCC Human Resources Innovation and Decent Work, and stakeholders across the country, these tools are sourced from diverse ELCC organizations. The toolkit, and all its resources, are publicly available for use by administrators, educators and students.
- To download the tools and learn more about the project, please visit: org/hrtoolkit
- This toolkit is a living document! If you would like to submit an innovative tool, guide or policy, please contact: [email protected]
This project is funded by the Government of Canada's Social Development Partnerships Program - Children and Families.
Submitted to the Government of Ontario on January 24, 2020, the AECEO's submission calls on the government to:
- Commit to continuing the $2 Wage Enhancement Grant (WEG) and Home Child Care Enhancement Grant, and immediately extending the WEG to include RECEs and program staff in EarlyON Centres.
- Reverse the $48 million in cuts to child care and increase operating funding to keep pace with capital expansion.
- Develop and implement a publicly funded province-wide annually indexed wage scale with a $25/hour minimum wage for RECEs and commensurate compensation for early years staff, a benefits package, including 7 paid sick and 10 job protected personal leave
Click HERE to read the full submission.
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During an interview with Melanie Ng for BT on January 20, 2020, the Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, referred to the Kindergarten Program teaching partnership as having “one EA and one Teacher”. While we appreciate the tremendously valuable work of Educational Assistants, and recognize they are an integral part of our schools, it is Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) who work alongside OCTs in the Kindergarten program. The AECEO wrote to Minister Lecce to express our deep concern with his statement, in which he failed "to appropriately identify ECEs in their important and legislated role in the Kindergarten teaching partnership."
We find Minister Lecce's comment detrimental and hurtful, as it makes "the ethically and socially important work of ECEs and their contributions to children, families, and their teaching partners invisible. This dedicated, predominantly female workforce expresses that their work is often undervalued and unappreciated, which is then confirmed by the deep disparity in remuneration and working conditions they experience in the school system."
"Early childhood educators deserve better. They deserve respect and recognition. Specifically, they deserve this from the Minister of Education." We've called on Minister Lecce to apologize to ECEs in Ontario. We encourage you to send your own email to Minister Lecce at [email protected] or Minister.EDU@ontario.ca.
Read the AECEO's full letter here.
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The AECEO is very proud to be co-hosting a lecture and discussion from 7-9pm on the 15th of January at Centre for Social Innovation (Annex)720 Bathurst Street, Toronto, Ontario M5S 2R4
Or join us online, with the opportunity to participate fully in this event, by registering here.
We know that for children, parents and educators alike, childcare in Ontario is in a state of crisis: fees are too high, spaces too few and educators are often underpaid and undervalued. Now Ontario faces new threats of funding cuts and deregulation. Is this acceptable for the children, educators and our future? How can families and educators mount an effective campaign for positive change?
This presentation and discussion provides a glimpse into other possibilities for the care of young children in our province. Join Kari Eide , an early childhood educator from Norway, as she shares her experience from the Barnehageopprør (Kindergarten Uprising) in Norway – a successful movement preventing the erosion of early learning and child care services in her country. Kari will share how she channeled her outrage as an educator resisting neoliberal policy measures into a coordinated, large-scale movement. Learn how campaigners drew on new and innovative strategies to band together educators, parents and children.
This presentation and discussion offer a space to consider how this successful campaign in be relevant and/or useful as we engage in our own fight for decent work and resistance to attacks on childcare and public services more broadly in Ontario.
Find tickets for this extraordinary opportunity to learn (and to participate in no-cost CPL) HERE
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The Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario has been invited to participate in the Ministry of Education’s newly established Cross-Sectoral Early Years and Child Care Advisory Group. The Advisory Group will be made up of representatives from some stakeholders groups across the sector and will be tasked with identifying the potential implications of Ministry of Education decision-making on key areas of policy related to early years and child care.
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The Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario is a non-profit, charitable organization, which acts on behalf of its members. As such, we have a vested interest in considering the potential implications of policy decisions from the position of our members. We are, as a charitable organization, a non-partisan group. In this way, we do not favour one party over another, nor promote a party or encourage our members to vote a particular way.
We do consider and analyze the party platforms with the best interests of our members and the child care sector as per AECEO’s mission and purpose, and share this information within our networks. This information is to encourage thoughtful consideration and meaningful dialogue in the pre-election period, and ultimately informed voting decisions.
The following charts highlight the child care and early years platforms of the Green Party, Liberal Party, NDP, PC Party, and People's Party as of October 2, 2019.
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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 advocate for recognition and appropriate compensation for early childhood professionals, so they can provide high quality programs for children and families. One of our ongoing goals is to activate Ontario’s ECEs to engage in leadership and advocacy, challenging practices and policies that restrict expression and pedagogical potential for ECEs, children and families. In their intellectual and ethical practices with children, families and communities, we believe ECEs are uniquely positioned to imagine and create the world we want to live in. We are thus pleased to announce our partnership with Western University as co-leads for the Provincial Centre of Excellence for Early Years and Child Care and Secretariat. Through this partnership, the AECEO seeks to make public the work and value of ECEs while supporting their pedagogical journey. This not only benefits children, families and societies but also advances the early childhood profession.
The Ministry of Education has confirmed that the wage enhancement grant will continue in 2019-20. Also confirmed was that child care spending this year will the same as last year, with the addition of the new tax credit announced in yesterday's Budget.
Many thanks to all who participated in getting petitions signed, emailing their MPPs and raising this issue to the level that the government had to listen! This shows that advocacy campaigns do work and we will continue to fight for a professional wage and decent work in the early years and child care sector and a funded wage grid with a minimum $25/hour for RECEs.
Toronto Star article
With over 12,000 signatures garnered on hard copy petitions in less than a month - and they are still coming in - the WEG Petition initiative shows that overwhelming support for keeping the grant exists in this province. AECEO members, Decent Work Teams, and supporters across Ontario worked hard to gather signatures and spread the word. You have made the petition a huge success! Thank you!
The petition, urging legislators to maintain the $2 per hour Provincial Wage Enhancement Grant, is being presented in the Ontario Legislature this week - so now is the perfect time to keep up the pressure to continue the grant by contacting your MPP directly to reinforce and further support the message.
There is an easy 5 minute action that you, your colleagues, friends and family can take to demonstrate to each MPP how strong the support is among their own constituents/voters. MPPs need to hear from you - and they will pay attention if they receive strong feedback about an issue.
Sending an email or leaving a phone message is a quick and easy way to communicate with your elected representative. It can be short and sweet. All you need to say is that, as their constituent, you want them to make sure that the wage grant continues! If you signed the petition or have a personal story to tell you can include that too. Please copy [email protected] on the email, or let us know who you have contacted so we can follow up with the MPP. If you are looking for a template to copy/paste/modify - the OCBCC has created one: http://www.childcareontario.org/petition_email_template
Support from RECEs who do not currently receive the grant is also important – not only because it is of benefit to fellow RECEs, but because it preserves the concept of government support for wages - which is crucial to our larger goal: the implementation of a funded wage grid across Ontario.
Click here to find your provincial riding and your MPP's contact information.
Imagine the power emails from 55,000 RECEs would have!
#ECEPower #DecentWork #ProfessionalPay
If you will be in Toronto on Thursday and are able to attend the presentation of the petition to the Legislative Assembly please let us know at [email protected].
Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario (AECEO)
Submission to the Ministry of Finance 2019 Pre Budget Consultations
We support Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs) in their professional practice and advocate for the recognition and appropriate compensation of the profession. RECEs are fundamental to high quality early learning and child care (ECEC) in Ontario.
Summary of Budget Action Recommendations
- Commit to continuing the $2/hour Wage Enhancement Grant (WEG) and immediately extending it to include RECEs in other sectors including EarlyON staff
Develop and implement a publicly funded province wide wage scale with a $25/hour minimum wage for RECEs and commensurate compensation for early years staff, a benefits package, including paid sick and personal leave days; we advise the Government to commit at least $375 million as a first step to establishing the wage scale
Click here to read the full submission.
Application deadline - February 18, 2019
The AECEO is looking for a Community Organizing and Communications Coordinator to assume a leadership role in coordinating and implementing the Professional Pay & Decent Work Campaign initiatives and ongoing communication strategies and events.
Details about this exciting opportunity may be found posted here.