Take Action Together: Community Connections

Tool_kit_launch__(1).pngJoin us this Thursday, July 8th from 7-8:30pm for our next webinar on child care advocacy in Ontario: Take Action Together: Community Connections. We will start with an update on our Road Map and review our vision of what a Canada-wide child care system can do for Ontario. We will walk through our Summer Advocacy Tool-Kit and talk about the power of collective action. Then we will move into regional break out rooms hosted by local advocates to connect, think, organize, and plan together. There will be time for Q and A's. Looking forward to seeing you there! 


Webinar: Next Steps for Child Care Advocacy in Ontario

June_15_webinar.jpgMany thanks to everyone who was able to join the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario and the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care for the webinar about what’s next for child care advocacy in Ontario. For those who were unable to join, the slides and audio of the webinar are available below. We regret that due to technical issues the video of the webinar is not postable/shareable. Our apologies for any inconvenience. Link to Webinar slides Link to Webinar audio

Please help shape the next steps by submitting your ideas at the "Mentimeter" links below:

What would a Canada-wide child care system mean to you?: https://www.menti.com/z644sqr3h3

What do you want to see in an Ontario child care system?: https://www.menti.com/ffdhycbyy

What kind of actions/activities do YOU want to do?: https://www.menti.com/859mn9wdkm

Sign up here for the Roadmap and Toolkit Launch!


Next Webinar - Take Action Together: Community Conversations

We were so excited by the energy on the "Next Steps" webinar and recognize there was not an opportunity to for dialogue, questions and connecting in a small group. We want to make that possible, so we invite you to join us for Take Action Together: Community Conversations on Thursday, July 8th from 7:00 – 8:30pm. In this virtual meeting we will review the advocacy tool-kit together, connect in small, regional break outs, and think about how we can take action together. Looking forward to seeing you there, and don’t forget to invite a friend! :

Registration: Take Action Together: Community Connections

New Survey: The Early Childhood Educators' Well-being Survey

This new survey is part of an international effort to capture the voices of early childhood educators and child care workers/providers and better understand how Covid has impacted their well-being. It presents a unique opportunity for your experiences to contribute to advancing the well-being of the workforce in Canada, and internationally. 

In Canada, the data will be used by researcher Dr Brooke Richardson (Brock University), in collaboration with the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario, to inform community-based projects, presentations and ongoing work asserting the value of the profession and advocating for decent working conditions and professional wages. Data from this study will also be used to inform a larger national study of educator well-being in Australia, and possibly in comparisons with data from larger studies. In addition, data from the project may be reported in journal articles and/or other presentations.  

Please note, this survey takes 35-40 minutes to complete and must be completed in one sitting. 

The Early Childhood Educators’ Well-being Survey can be found herehttps://www.research.net/r/ECEC_Canada

Link to post-survey reflection form

We hosted a webinar about this international research project, why your participation is so important, and how your experiences will influence our advocacy and work:

       Link to Webinar Recording

One Child is One Too Many

Today we took time to reflect and pause in honour of the lives of the 215 Indigenous children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School. We affirm our commitment to working to ensure that every child matters in every generation of First Nations, Métis and Inuit children. This is not just history. There are more Indigenous children in state care today than at the height of the residential school system. There are 53 long-term drinking water advisories in in Canada. The Federal Government continues to challenge the survivors of St Anne’s Residential School in court on reopening compensation cases. In early childhood education, and as educators, we have a responsibility to bring these present truths to light, to ensure that the histories of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people are not only taught as curriculum content, but that their ways of being and knowing are valued and honoured. We must ensure our own work does not reproduce old narratives that cause harm, and that our work and pedagogy disrupt and do better.

Reconciliation in statements, in sentiment, is not enough. There must be action that disrupts ongoing colonial practices that continue to cause harm, silence, and disrupt generations of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. We must follow the lead of the Indigenous community and work collectively to do better in memory of the children, families and communities.

One child is one too many.

For those needing support: https://www.fnha.ca/about/news-and-events/news/indian-residential-school-support-program

We suggest donating to support the work of the following organizations or an organization of your choice:

Indian Residential School Survivors Society in BC: https://www.irsss.ca/donate

The Orange Shirt Society: https://www.orangeshirtday.org/donations.html

First Nations Child and Family Caring Society: https://fncaringsociety.com/donate

Survey Report: Forgotten on the Frontline

Screen_Shot_2021-05-18_at_10.59.57_PM.png The Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on Ontario’s early years and child care sector. From temporary closure, developing  emergency child care for essential service workers, implementing new health and safety procedures, Early Childhood Educators and child care workers have been vitally important to keeping our communities safe and supported. But little is known about the impact of the pandemic on the workforce itself, how it has changed their work life and their well-being. 

In an effort to learn what current challenges are facing the workforce, the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario and the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care carried out a survey of Ontario’s early years and child care workforce between February 17th and March 1, 2021, with questions exploring current working conditions, mental health and well-being, as well as perspectives on vaccination.

This report presents highlights of the survey findings along with direct quotes from respondents describing their experiences and perspectives. We then present “Stories from the Frontline”, in which we draw out themes that emerged through qualitative analysis of the respondents’ comments. Finally, we present conclusions and recommendations for government.

To read the Survey Report, click here.

To read the Summary, click here.

May 14th Ontario Youth in Care Day

The words of AECEO President Dr Brooke Richardson, Irwin Elman, and Cheyanne Ratnam, Co-Founder, CEO & President, Ontario Children’s Advancement Coalition, on this May 14, Ontario Children and Youth in Care Day:    Youth in Care Day

Today May 14 is Ontario’s Youth in Care Day which honours all young people across Ontario in and from the child welfare system. Today we acknowledge their strength and courage as they face the challenges the circumstances that brought them into care and the experiences caused by the often trauma inducing system the Province has created to “care” for them

Today the biggest danger for children, youth and families who encounter the child welfare system, in fact for many of us , is that when COVID is over things will go back to normal. Normal was never and still is not, good enough for young people in the legal guardianship of the state (in “care”). The outcomes of “normal”, our systems attempts to care for children, was too often homelessness, poverty, prison, and sometimes even death.

Today governments continue to define “success” as financial, physical and emotional independence. In fact, this now appears to be an untouchable universal truth. At the subjective and state level, we drank the rugged individualism KoolAid internalizing the idea that to be (inter)dependent or needy is to be weak, small and broken. Along these lines, the modus operandi of state structures is to reward those who don’t need and vilify (and too often criminalize) those who do – particularly equity seeking groups including young people and alumni from the child welfare system.

A tunnel vision and focus by government on fiscal “efficiencies”, economic bottom lines and getting ahead (at the individual, institutional and political levels) have made the conditions in which good care can exist impossible. In fact, we throw around the word “care” like it means something: “long-term care”, “healthcare”, “childcare”, “daycare”, “health care”, “kids in [state] care”.

As a young person from within the system once said: “good care in the child welfare system is a matter of good fortune rather than good planning”. Young people often feel as though they are in the backseat in the car of their life, powerless to determine their journey. Once they legally become an adult (an arbitrary age determined by legal systems) they are thrown the keys never learning to drive – in a car with no gas, a flat tire and a sputtering engine.

So what is good care? Good care positions young people in the driver seat, thoughtfully deliberates policies and resource provisions while grappling with the intersecting needs of peoples in complex ethical and material situations.

But perhaps the biggest missing resource when it comes to the child welfare system is time: the time to build the conditions where young people experience respectful, supportive, equitable relationships with themselves and their respective and interconnecting communities. As a privileged province and country, it is OUR responsibility (through government leadership, institutions and policies) to ensure that every young person who intersects with the child welfare system participates in their care as fully as possible. This cannot take place until there is a government and institutional shift in culture. The end of rugged individualism, not to be replaced by a “saviour framework”, must come.

This is our call to action. We, along with a growing community of young people, scholars and activists offer another way: “a caring democracy”. A caring democracy exists where “…the purpose of economic life is to support care – not the other way around”. The pandemic has revealed the dangers of prioritizing the economy at the expense of care. A caring democracy cannot exist without the meaningful, active and ongoing participation of equity-seeking lived experts – particularly in decision-making processes.

Youth in Care Day is the opportune time to begin building a caring democracy. Children in “care” are the only group that the government, on behalf of all of us, is legally required to care for. We are failing them. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Today, in Ontario, we have the opportunity to follow the leadership of young people in and from care (First Voice Advocates) who have struggled their way to a place at the table. We ask you to join us, as allies, in the making of a new normal.

Replace your language that places the care of yourself, others and your community ahead of the well being of the economy. Demand that your leaders do the same.

Part of developing a new normal is building capacity together in child welfare. Learn about the issues faced by young people in and from the child welfare system not issues faced by the system. Tune in live on Facebook through the Ontario Children’s Advancement Coalition for Ontario’s Provincial Day of Learning, #Five14Futures May 14th at 11:45am.

Check out a broader grassroots care campaign to prioritize care across sectors in the next provincial election.

Dr. Brooke Richardson

Care scholar and activist

Irwin Elman

Cheyanne Ratnam,

Co-Founder, CEO & President, Ontario Children’s Advancement Coalition


eceLINK Spring 2021 - Now available online

In this issue:

  • AECEO Statement on Child Protection and the Role of ECEs in Ontario     eceLINK_Spring_2021web-page-001.jpg
  • Sharing the Experiences of Indigenous Educators and Communities During COVID-19
  • Decent Work Project Update
  • The Peer Reviewed Collection:
    • An Outcome Evaluation of a Professional Development Opportunity Focusing on Sexuality Education for Early Learning Professionals
    • ECEs Early Experiences in Full-Day Kindergarten: "They Just Weren't Ready for Us!"
    • How Early Years Professionals can Inform an Early Years Policy Framework Prototype
  • 2021-2022 AECEO Provincial Board Nominations form
  • Members' Motion Guidelines/Form

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

ECE Qualifications Upgrade Program

Johnson Insurance

Read_more_button.png (AECEO Member Access)

The child care community wins vaccine priority

Today (April 27th) the Ministry of Health announced that all early childhood educators and child care workers in licensed settings can book their vaccine beginning Thursday, April 29th, through the provincial portal.
Together, we fought hard to be heard. The AECEO and OCBCC open letter had over 12000 signatures, supported by the work of the TCBCC and the child care community, we saw thousands of emails from ECEs and child care workers, operators and parents, and the story was in the news for weeks, where ECEs and child care workers shared their story. Change is possible when we come together and raise our collective voice. You fought for this, you earned this. Your work and your well-being matter.
"Keeping childcare open is critical to the mental health and well-being of children and in supporting working parents in Ontario. Effective Thursday, April 29, 2021, child care workers in licensed child care settings will be eligible to book an appointment through the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line number at 1-833-943-3900 or directly through public health units that use their own booking system. Eligible workers in licensed child care settings will receive a letter from their employer. This letter must be available at the point of booking and taken to the vaccination appointment. In the coming weeks, eligibility will be expanded to child care workers in unlicensed child care settings across the province."

Community Care Wellness Check-In

The AECEO, TCBCC and OCBCC invite you to participate in a Community Care Wellness Check-In, facilitated by child and family therapist Helen Hargreaves. This session will be an opportunity for all early years workers and community members to spend time focusing on their own emotions and needs, to share and be heard, and to hold space for each other. This session will take place via Zoom on Wednesday 28th April at 7:00pm. Please join us by registering here:
Helen Hargreaves

Helen works as a child and family therapist and is a dedicated activist. She believes that equity and accessibility in mental healthcare is paramount and strives to create a system with fewer barriers. During this pandemic Helen has sought to better understand the barriers that exist for neurodivergent folks using new formats, such as Zoom, to make online spaces more accessible.

Helen is actively engaged in educating children about queer rights and fighting for the rights of queer families. She is passionate about supporting neurodivergent Trans and gender creative children.

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

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.  

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.

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

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.

AECEO Submission to Ontario 2021 Pre-Budget Consultation

Our recommendations:

  • Invest an initial $375 million to develop and implement a province-wide Wage Grid for RECEs
    and child care staff, as a first step to implementing “Growing Together: Ontario's Early Years
    and Child Care Workforce Strategy.” A $25 minimum wage is required to immediately protect
    and respect the early childhood workforce and address recruitment and retention issues.
  • Immediately reverse $49 million in planned cuts to child care.
  • Increase general operating funding by $500 million to stabilize the child care sector.
  • Allocate funding to lower class sizes, ensure paid preparation time and collaborative planning
    time for the Kindergarten Team, and ensure a healthy and safe work environment.
  • Allocate $600 million to begin a transition to operational funding that supports low fees or no
    fees for families.
  • Fund 7 permanent paid sick days and additional 14 paid sick days during public health

Click HERE to read our full submission.

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


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

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)

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)

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

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.