Ontario child care advocates celebrate hard-won victory with signing Canada-Ontario child care agreement; call for stronger child care workforce strategy

Toronto, ON— Ontario child care advocates are celebrating the signing of the Canada-Ontario child care agreement, but are also warning that child care expansion will fail without addressing the sector’s plummeting staff retention and growing worker shortage.

“Today is a huge step forward, but we must learn from the mistakes of our past and correct course now—we cannot expand on the practices that have deeply broken Ontario’s child care system,” says Carolyn Ferns, Policy Coordinator at the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care (OCBCC). “Child care workers and advocates from across the province agree. Without addressing chronic working conditions, including low wages and inadequate sick leave that are leading to a mass exodus of trained and experienced workers, Ontario’s plan will ultimately fail the families who’ve finally found hope in the province’s child care system.”

Advocates had called for a workforce strategy to include a wage grid starting at $25 per hour wage floor for child care workers and decent work standards that include 10 paid sick days, adequate planning time, and paid time for professional learning.

“The Ford government’s announcement today of a $18 per hour wage floor for ECEs is inadequate and demonstrates how ignorant the government is about the extent of the crisis of recruitment and retention in the province and what salaries and benefits are necessary to solve it,” says Rachel Vickerson, Executive Director of the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario (AECEO).

Parents also understand the necessity for a provincial child care workforce strategy, reports CUPE, the OCBCC, and AECEO.

“We need and deserve access to early learning and child care workers who are treated with respect and dignity,” says Wendy LaRose of Toronto Parents for Child Care. “We cannot build a universal system of care and early learning on the backs of an exploited workforce, who are mostly women and racialized.”

For more information and media requests:

Carolyn Ferns
Policy Coordinator
Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care
[email protected]

Rachel Vickerson
Executive Director
Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario 

647 393 8952
[email protected]

Phone Zap

On March 23rd, over 100 Early Childhood Educators, child care workers and supporters participated in a to PHONE ZAP Ontario  Minister Stephen Lecce, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, and Federal Minister Karina Gould. We listened to brave ECE stories and demanded that the Federal Child Care Agreement be signed immediately and that the early years workforce crisis is addressed in Ontario with the following:

1. A salary grid that ensures at least
a. a $25 per hour starting wage for non-qualified staff
b. a $30 per hour starting wage for Early Childhood Educators
c. a daily rate minimum for licensed home child care providers
d. and a commensurate benefits package for all.

2. Decent Work Standards that support pedagogical practice, including paid planning time, permanent paid sick and emergency leave days and Early Childhood Workforce Learning Framework.

3. The creation of practitioner roles that will strengthen program quality while formally recognizing the value of credentials, experience, and diverse knowledges.

4. Pathways to acquire and upgrade qualifications, responding to the needs and strengths of rural, remote, and marginalized communities.

You can also voice your concerns and personal experiences with the workforce crisis and what a national child care plan would mean for your life.

Open Letter: A Workforce At Breaking Point

Header-Workforce at Breaking Point

Today the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario and Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care are releasing an open letter calling on federal and provincial governments to ensure that the Ontario child care agreement includes a wage grid and strategy to address the province’s growing child care workforce crisis. Over 1500 Early Childhood Educators, child care workers and supporters have signed on calling for:

  1. A salary grid that ensures at least
    • a $25 per hour starting wage for non-qualified staff
    • a $30 per hour starting wage for Early Childhood Educators
    • a daily rate minimum for licensed home child care providers
    • and a commensurate benefits package for all.
  2. Decent Work Standards that support pedagogical practice, including paid planning time, permanent paid sick and emergency leave days and Early Childhood Workforce Learning Framework.
  3. The creation of practitioner roles that will strengthen program quality while formally recognizing the value of credentials, experience, and diverse knowledges.
  4. Pathways to acquire and upgrade qualifications, responding to the needs and strengths of rural, remote, and marginalized communities.

Signatories also responded in comments to the letter’s two questions 1) How has you or your organization been affected by the ECE workforce crisis? and 2) what do you want the provincial and federal government to know when negotiating the child care agreement?

The open letter with all comments and signatory names can be read on the Breaking Point Open Letter webpage.

Winter/Spring 2022 eceLINK Now Available

In this issue:

Cover Image eceLINK Winter Spring issue

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

Johnson Insurance


Click HERE to become an AECEO member or renew!

A Workforce At Breaking Point - Rising Up

Header-Workforce at Breaking Point

A Workforce at Breaking Point: Rising Up is a new campaign organized by the AECEO and OCBCC to share stories and raise our voices together about the early learning and child care workforce crisis.

Federal funds available through the Canada-wide early learning and child care agreements can help to end this crisis and make decent work and professional pay an achievable reality in Ontario. We invite you to sign on to our open letter calling for a wage grid and decent work standards in the federal-provincial agreement. The open letter also provides space for you to share your ECE workforce experiences. 

See the signed open letter, published March 15, 2022, and read the stories/experiences of those affected by the crisis here 

Early Mathematics Resource Carousel - Feb 3, 2022 3:30-5:00 pm

Free Workshop presented by Members of the Critical Transitions in Early Math Group who will share and provide access to resources for educators that support K-Grade 3 mathematics. Presenters will include Melanie Martin and Dr. Lynda Colgan (The Roots of Coding); Dr. Sandy Youmans (Early Math at Home and Early Math at School); Dr. Heather Douglas (Early Math Assessment Screening Tool); Hannah Wickstrom (Structured Play); and Angeline Hunter (Greater Essex County District Classroom Support Documents).

Download the flyer for more information and registration.

AECEO 2022 Ontario Pre-Budget Submission to the Standing Committee

Our recommendations:

  • Immediately sign on to the federal child care plan. If Ontario fails to sign before March 31st we risk losing the first year of funding - over $1 Billion in federal funds.
  • Adopt and implement the child care community’s Roadmap to Universal Child Care in Ontario, which sets out our vision and a shared path forward for Ontario child care.
  • Invest an initial $375 million to develop and implement a province-wide Wage Grid for RECEs and child care staff/providers. A $25 minimum wage is required to immediately protect and respect the early childhood workforce and address recruitment and retention issues.
  • Immediately reverse the 5% administrative funding cut to child care.
  • Increase general operating funding by $500 million to stabilize the child care sector.
  • Reverse cuts to the education budget and allocate funding to lower class sizes, increase wages, ensure paid preparation time and collaborative planning time for the Kindergarten Team, and ensure a healthy and safe work environment.
  • Fund 7 permanent paid sick days and additional 14 paid sick days during public health.

Click HERE to read our full submission.

Open letter on child care safety and viability


Today, along with over 50 organizations and individuals, we are releasing an open letter calling for immediate and concrete action to support the safety and viability of licensed child care programs in Ontario. We need a provincial plan to make our young children’s care as safe as possible and to prevent the collapse of the child care sector.

  • Reinstate eligibility for publicly-funded PCR tests to include children, families, Early Childhood Educators, child care providers and staff;
  • Recommence COVID-19 case reporting in the child care sector;
  • Increase financial support to licensed child care programs to ensure recruitment and retention of qualified staff;
  • Provide 10 permanent paid sick days to support child care workers and families with mandatory isolation periods;
  • Take responsibility for the health and safety of families and workers by clearly guiding operators facing cohort dismissals due to positive COVID-19 test results in their programs.

To read the open letter: https://www.childcareontario.org/open_letter

You can sign on to support the open letter here: https://www.childcareontario.org/sign_the_open_letter

This is the second in a series of initiatives to draw attention to the child care crisis in Ontario.

Together we can make a difference.

Day of Action for Child Care - Jan 20th


On January 20th we held the first in a series of Child Care Days of Action to demand that the Ontario government immediately act to protect this vital sector.

The child care community and allies from across Ontario flooded Premier Ford’s phone line with calls about child care, demanding that the Ontario government:

  • Reinstate PCR testing and reporting in child care;
  • Increase financial support to child care;
  • Provide adequate and ongoing supply of PPE;
  • Legislate 10 permanent paid sick days; and
  • Sign the $10 a day child care agreement.

This phone blitz was just the first in a series of escalating actions as we draw attention to the child care crisis in Ontario.  

We thank the many people from all over the province who participated in the Child Care Day of Action.

Letter to Minister Lecce: Updated Guidelines

Today we sent a letter to Education Minister Stephen Lecce expressing our concern with the December 30th updated guidelines.

"These new, and weakened, guidelines will have deep implications for Ontario’s children, families, ECEs and child care providers/staff, who will face increasing isolation periods without access to testing, increased financial uncertainty without increased provincial support, and a complete lack of protection and respect for their health and well-being. The child care sector has gone above and beyond to pivot, adapt, and support Ontario’s children and families. This downloading of responsibility disrespects their hard work and Ontario’s children and families.

We urge the Ministry of Education to:
• Ensure that all children, families, and educators in Ontario’s child care and education systems can access timely, publicly-funded, PCR tests
• Source additional RATs to ensure all children, families, ECEs and child care providers/staff have immediate access to RATs through their child care program, distributed by the Province
• Support transparency by continuing reporting of COVID-19 cases in the child care sector
• Immediately increase financial support to licensed child care programs to support staff recruitment and retention, including addressing low wages and challenging working conditions, and offset family fees during isolation periods
• Expedite the distribution of N95 masks to the child care sector
• Ensure access to 10 permanent paid sick days to support educators and families with mandatory isolation periods"

We encourage you to contact your MPP and share your concerns as well. Together, we are stronger.

To read and share the full letter, click here.

Letter to Education Minister Stephen Lecce

We have heard the voices of Early Childhood Educators from across Ontario about the lack of support for the ECE workforce and child care programs during the COVID-19 pandemic. ECEs, early years staff and child care providers have been on the front lines in this pandemic for almost 2 years, have risen to every challenge, and ensured that children in their programs are receiving the care and learning experiences they deserve. They have been professional in their response the changing protocols and conflicting communication, have worked to build confidence in families, and they have done this while being concerned about the health and wellbeing of children, their communities, themselves, and their own families.

The workforce crisis is a reality in Ontario. We know that wages and working conditions are the primary problem being experienced by the ECE workforce and have called for action to address it, and the implementation of sustainable, long-term solutions such as a workforce strategy with a publicly funded wage grid.

We have shared these concerns in our meetings 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]



Emergency Roundtable on the Child Care Workforce Shortage: December 15th, 2-3 pm


Across Ontario, the child care workforce crisis is causing programs to limit their hours, close rooms and close programs. Educators are increasingly burnt out. We need government action to address this pressing crisis. Join the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario and the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care on December 15th at 2pm for a roundtable discussion on the child care workforce crisis in Ontario. We have invited Ministry of Education officials and municipal leaders to listen to voices from the community. Come and take part in a discussion of current challenges and the changes that we need to support retention and recruitment in the child care sector.

This event is being held during the day in order to facilitate the participation of public officials.

Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMpceyurTItHNA8MoOoKSMK7N-JQo4cfQ2m

Operators' Open Letter

This open letter initiative emerged from the Operators Rising Up Together Webinar, co-hosted by the AECEO, OCBCC and TCBCC in October 2021. The content of the open letter was derived directly from the conversations we had with child care operators, administrators, and those present at the webinar, and added to ongoing consultation the AECEO, OCBCC and TCBCC has had with their members and the community.

This open letter is directed to Holly Moran, Ontario's new Assistant Deputy Minister for Early Years and Child Care. We hope this letter will help raise the voice of operators and lead to more productive and supportive communications and collaborations moving forward. Your voices and experiences matter, and we believe collective action can lead to positive change.

You can endorse the open letter by filling out the endorsement form. This will add your name, position and organization to the public open letter. Thank you for all you are doing to support children, families and communities.

Thank you for all your ongoing work, we know things have been incredibly challenging and we value and honour your work. We hope this collective action and letter can help to have your voices hear and ensure more support and transparency with the Ministry moving forward.

Read/download Open Letter

Endorse open letter hereEndorsement Form

AECEO Job Opportunity

We are hiring!

Position: Executive Director – Maternity Leave Contract (13 months)

Deadline for application: December 10, 2021

The Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario is the professional association for Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) and its primary purpose is to advocate for respect, recognition and appropriate wages and working conditions for all ECEs. We work collectively and collaboratively with communities to build and support a strong collective voice for early childhood educators so they can participate in and influence positive change that benefits ECEs, children, families and communities.

Job Description: Responsible for the successful leadership and management of the organization according to the strategic direction and coordinating the organization’s staff team, activities, projects and policy development. This position reports directly to the Board of Directors (the board).

Primary Responsibilities:

 Public relations & public policy

  • Monitor, research, evaluate and respond to public policy, budgetary and sector developments centring their impacts on the early childhood (EC) workforce and the broader sector, for example (prepare written submissions, Op-Eds, open letters, etc., depute/discuss in government consultations and meetings, and in media interviews)
  • Engage and listen to the EC workforce and create opportunities for their voices to lead across the organization’s work
  • Establish and maintain professional working relations and cooperative arrangements with members, community stakeholders, other organizations, the College of ECE and government
  • Represent the AECEO in the sector, broader social justice community and in the media through public speaking (webinars, panels, etc)
  • Research, develop and coordinate outreach and advocacy materials, fact sheets, presentations, press releases and targeted communications

Project management

  • Coordinate and oversee the work of staff team and volunteers, ensuring the completion of project deliverables/agreements
  • Work with staff team on the development and implementation of member engagement, recruitment, and retention strategies
  • Prepare reports to funders as required
  • Lead the development, implementation, and coordination of advocacy campaigns


  • Collaborate to manage the organization’s social media accounts
  • Collaborate to plan, develop, and coordinate marketing strategies for, but not limited to, events, programs, promotional strategies and materials, and outreach
  • Contribute to the content, publication, and dissemination process for the AECEO’s quarterly eceLINK magazine


  • Lead the staff team in the development and monitoring of annual and projects budgets ensuring the organization operates within budget guidelines
  • Establish and maintain relations with funders and project partners
  • Research availability of ongoing and project funding and develop grant or funding proposals that will support organizational projects and strategic plans


  • Ensure the organization maintains legal counsel when necessary
  • Ensure all legal obligations are met


Degree in Early Childhood Education, Communications, Humanities, Social or Political Science or a related field of study, or equivalent combination of education and experience. Experience critiquing, developing, and advocating for social policies related to the ECE workforce an asset. 

Skills, knowledge, and experience


  • Strong writing skills
  • Confident public speaker
  • Experience in public policy analysis and development, and government decision-making processes
  • Demonstrated familiarity and competency with standard office software and video conferencing technology e.g., Microsoft Office 365, Zoom, Google Meet,
  • Strong collaborative leadership skills
  • Project and time management skills
  • Ability to build and maintain strong and collaborative relationships with diverse partners and stakeholders
  • Ability to work evenings and weekends and flexible hours
  • Ability to work within anti-racist and anti-oppressive frameworks


  • Experience coordinating project/staff team
  • Experience working with racialized communities, knowledge of anti-racism work, and the ability to work within racially diverse teams
  • Knowledge and understanding of critical theories of early childhood
  • Understanding of care ethics and commitment to creating a caring, non-hierarchical, organizational culture


  • Registered Early Childhood Educator
  • G drivers license or equivalent full drivers license

This is a full time, salaried, 13-month contract position to cover a maternity leave.

The AECEO is committed to leading with our values and ethics. This means we value the lived experiences of our applicants and believe potential and passion can be as valuable as credentials. We encourage applications from Black, First Nation, Métis, Inuit, and racialized individuals; Two-Spirit, non-binary, trans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer people; disabled people; and members of other equity-seeking groups. As part of our learning and growth, we have made a commitment to implementing anti-racist hiring practices (see below).

If you are contacted by the AECEO regarding this job opportunity and require an accommodation due to disability to participate in the recruitment and selection process, please advise and we will work with you to meet your needs.

Start Date: February 14th, 2021

Salary: 67,000/year, plus benefits after 3 months

Work location: Remote/from home

Please submit cover letter, and resume to [email protected] by 5pm, December 10, 2021. Only candidates who are selected for interviews will be contacted. Interviews will take place in early-mid January 2022. A writing sample will be requested from candidates when confirming an interview.

Download job posting PDF

As part of our ongoing learning and commitment to working within an anti-racist and anti-oppressive framework, the AECEO has committed to the following Anti-racist hiring practices:

  • Public commitment to anti-racist hiring practice in job postings
  • Share job postings on diverse job boards/through networks
  • Create standardized interview questions
  • No social media screening of applicants/candidates
  • Diversity in hiring committee
  • Commitment from hiring committee members to anti-bias and anti-racist hiring

Rising up for Child Care

Negotiations are ramping up – Ontario and Canada are meeting this week to hammer out an agreement on $10.2 Billion in child care funding! 

It’s time to rise up and keep the pressure on to make sure Ontario signs a deal that meets the needs of our communities. The child care community knows what Ontario needs. We have a Roadmap to Universal Child Care. It’s time to get the deal done so that municipalities and the community can get to work making things happen across the province.

The Ontario child care sector has been supporting children and families throughout the pandemic, under challenging and constrained circumstances. With $10.2 Billion on the table for Ontario, we know the sector is ready to move forward with new supports. 

It’s time for affordable fees for families, decent work and pay for educators and expanding the non-profit sector to allow more families to access high-quality early learning and child care in Ontario. Children, families and educators deserve this deal now.


What we’re asking you to do:

There are 3 ways you can participate in this campaign! You can do all or just the ones you are most comfortable with.

1. Call Premier Ford and tell him to sign on to the deal. You can copy the phone call script here and call Premier Ford to share your story.

2. Share on social Media: Download the poster and print it or save it to edit on your computer. Check off which of the 3 big ideas (affordable fees, decent work and pay, non-profit expansion) means the most to you right now (it could be all 3!). Add a statement into the open space about what this would mean for you. For example, “Decent Work and Pay would mean I can afford groceries for my family”, or “Affordable fees would mean I can make decisions about my child’s care based on what’s best for them, not just what we can afford”, or “Non-profit expansion matters to me so that every dollar goes into my child’s care and well-being”.

Take a selfie with your poster or take a photo of your poster and share on social media and directly with us by email to [email protected]. You can also use the hashtags #RisingUpForChildCare #DecentWork and #ECEPower and tag us in your posts.

3. Sign our petition to send an email Premier Ford and Minister Lecce and tell them to sign the deal: https://www.childcareontario.org/sign_the_child_care_agreement . If you've already signed the petition, send it to five friends or share it on social media. 

Together we can move child care forward!  

Province-Wide Conversation with Kindergarten ECEs

December 1st 7:00pm

The AECEO invites you to join kindergarten educators from across the province for the next in our ongoing series of Kindergarten Conversations on Wednesday December 1st 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:

2021 Ontario Economic Outlook

We were disappointed that Ontario's Fall Economic Statement did not include new funding to address the urgent needs of ECEs, early years staff/providers and the child care and early years sector. We know that no matter where you work, you have faced numerous challenges over the last 18 months, many of which preexisted the pandemic.

And while we advocate for Ontario to sign a child care deal with the Federal government, we must also remember that Ontario has a responsibility to fund and support the child care and early years sector. You deserve it, and children and families deserve it.

To see the Ontario's Fall Economic Statement you can visit: https://budget.ontario.ca/2021/fallstatement/pdf/2021-fall-statement-en.pdf? (Child Care can be found on pg. 79 and Education/Kindergarten on pg. 64) 

To read our Roadmap to Universal Child Care you can visit: https://www.aeceo.ca/roadmap_and_toolkit_launch

To view our new advocacy resources for Kindergarten RECEs please visit: https://www.aeceo.ca/kindergarten_resources

Call for Submissions - Peer reviewed collection: Spring/Summer 2022 eceLINK

Author Guidelines 

Subject parameters: Early Childhood Policy, Early Childhood Practice, Early Childhood Pedagogy, Social Justice in ECE, Professionalism, Disability and Inclusion in ECE, Environmentalism in ECE, Collaborative Practices, Diversity in ECE, Action Research in ECE, Early Childhood Classroom Issues at the Program Level, Pedagogical documentation, Engaging How does Learning Happen?  

Form and Style 

Style should be consistent with the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th Edition). The journal uses Canadian spelling; please consult the Oxford Canadian Dictionary. The editors welcome manuscripts between 5000-8000 words. 

Submission deadline:  February 1, 2022

Full submission guidelines

Fall 2021 eceLINK Now Available

In this issue:


The Peer Reviewed Collection:

  • Outdoor Learning And Experiences As A Way Forward During The Covid-19 Pandemic And Beyond
  • Leading Post-Pandemic Organizational Change In Early Childhood Education

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

Johnson Insurance


Click HERE to become an AECEO member or renew!

Week of Action October 18-22


This year's Week of Action will feature many exciting community building and advocacy activities!


Monday Oct 18: Nominate an ECE Hero

Who is YOUR child care hero? Nominate an ECE or child care worker hero for a chance to win prizes for them and yourself!
The AECEO and OCBCC are partnering to recognize and celebrate our child care heroes for Early Childhood Educator and Child Care Worker Appreciation Day on October 21st.
Child care heroes are plentiful in the sector and this year, we invite you to share your experiences of these real life heroes. Please tell us what makes them a hero to you, whether it be providing moral support, being flexible with programming, or a special talent that brings strength to everyone around them, we want to hear about their impact.

*Winners will be selected at random (5 nominees, 5 nominators) to receive $50 gift cards and announced on October 22nd.

Nomination Form


Tuesday Oct 19: Heroes Rising Up Virtual Rally and Action 7-8:30 pm

Join educators, advocates and allies for an evening to celebrate ECE heroes! We will hear and share stories from ECE's, celebrate and show our gratitude for the work of ECEs in the last year, and participate in a phone zap together to press for positive change for our sector! All Rally attendees will be entered in a door prize draw for Appreciation Prizes!


Phone Zap Script  (can be used anytime to phone zap your representative)

Wednesday Oct 20: Email your MPP

Email your Member of Provincial Parliament to call on them to support a national child care agreement and the AECEO/OCBCC Roadmap to Universal Child Care in Ontario. Find your MPP here, and their email address here.

Copy and paste the email letter template into your own document.

Thursday Oct 21: Child Care Worker and Early Childhood Educator Appreciation Day!!

Visit the OCBCC's website for downloadable Appreciation Certificates, tips for celebrating the day, pdf versions of the poster and social media shareables.

Friday October 22: Prize draws for ECE Hero winners!

(See Monday's action)

5 nominees and 5 nominators will each receive $50 gift cards drawn at random and announced on October 22nd!

National Day of Truth and Reconciliation

Today the AECEO is acknowledging and honouring the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day by committing time throughout the day to learning, unlearning, and critically examining our own work to continue to be better allies and take action on Truth and Reconciliation. We are grateful for the guidance of many Indigenous organizations on how to spend the day in a good way. As educators, we must hear the truth of the experiences of Survivors, it is our responsibility to learn the history of our country and education system. In our pedagogical work with young children and families we must work to disrupt the consequences of that history and of ongoing colonialism and systemic injustice.

We invite you to explore these resources as you consider how to spend your time and take action towards Truth and Reconciliation:

Visit the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society to view resources and action ideas. Their film, Spirit Bear and Children Make History, is being offered for free from September 27-October 1st, 2021.

Visit the Orange Shirt Day website. Learn about the history of the day, Phyllis’s story, and access some resources to help you honour the day with children.

If you haven’t yet, read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action. As you read the Calls to Action, reflect on where you can take action as an ECE and community member.

Take time to listen to the stories of Survivors. You can read their stories in The Survivors Speak, A Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

You can also visit the Downie Wenjack Foundation to read more about their online discussion and resources to support you in honouring the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day.

And finally, we welcome you to read eceLINK articles that were contributed by the AECEO Guiding Committee on Truth and Reconciliation.