The Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario (AECEO) is pleased to see the Government of Canada taking initiative on early learning and child care after a decade of inaction. Unfortunately, today’s announcement outlining their long-awaited early learning and child care framework does not go far enough to address the severe lack of affordable, accessible, high quality child care for Canadian families across the country. Equally important from the AECEO’s perspective, the framework does not mention, let alone set out clear goals or a plan, advancing the profession of early childhood educators who are the key to quality in early learning and child care programs.
“Ontario just released an ambitious plan to deliver universal child care for all children and families who need it and the Government of Canada has come to the table with a framework agreement that could be much stronger and the investment much more substantial” said Lyndsay Macdonald, Provincial Coordinator of the AECEO.
“The OECD benchmark on public spending for early childhood education and care is at least 1% of the GDP but the Government of Canada’s $7.5 billion investment over 11 years is around 0.02% of Canada’s GDP. For such a rich country, surely we can do better.” Furthermore, the bulk of this funding does not begin to flow until after the next federal election.
While the multilateral framework sets out the first step, the child care crisis across Canada remains at a tipping point. Without stable publically funded early learning and child care, with professionally paid early childhood educators, we cannot ensure that children get the best possible start in life. The AECEO will continue to work collaboratively with our members and sector partners to call for improvements to the framework.
Advocacy in action!
Ontario’s Renewed Early Years and Child Care Policy Framework & Five Year Action Plan
The AECEO is encouraged by the Ontario government’s ambitious plan to transform the early years and child care system so that more children and families can access the services they need. Transformative change is no easy feat for any sector and the strategic plans laid out in the Renewed Framework set Ontario on a path towards universally accessible early years and child care.
For many years the AECEO has called for the government to develop a workforce strategy and we are gratified to see this as a centerpiece of the Renewed Framework. Our submission to the Ministry of Education’s consultation process on the Early Years and Child Care was very clear on the pressing need for a workforce strategy, not only to support the planned expansion of 100,000 new spaces, but also to mitigate the serious recruitment and retention difficulties now being experienced in the licensed child care sector. In January 2017 the AECEO established a Task Force of RECE members, experts and researchers to advise government on the development of workforce policies and we are very enthusiastic to work cooperatively with the government of Ontario to advance the early childhood profession. We are pleased by the commitment, as called for in our submission, to continue to fund the wage enhancement grant while workforce policies and funding methods are being developed. We also call for RECEs and other staff who work outside of licensed child care to receive this grant while the government works on a more comprehensive strategy.
The AECEO is also very pleased that the government will support ongoing professional learning for educators by funding two provincial events each year and that educators will be able to apply for release time to be able to attend. This is an excellent opportunity for RECEs and staff in the sector to come together to share pedagogies, strategies and ideas.
The plan to direct fund licensed home child care agencies rather than require child care providers to pay fees will not only enhance quality by bringing more into the licensed system, it will also have a positive effect on compensation for all licensed providers, many of whom are RECEs. Additionally, the opportunity to receive support and professional learning opportunities from an agency is a very valuable component of improved working conditions and decent work.
It is our hope that through this process we can develop a comprehensive workforce strategy to better support RECEs and early years staff no matter where they work in the sector. In addition to developing policy direction on compensation, recruitment and retention, professional learning and education and training it is imperative to explore policy directives that would ensure decent working conditions that support staff to provide high quality programs.
RECEs in Ontario play a valuable and important role in keeping the province moving. We shape future generations and are excited to help shape this groundbreaking transformation of Ontario’s early years and child care sector.
Seven Key Areas of Action - Ontario’s Renewed Early Years & Child Care Policy Framework includes seven areas of action that overlap and reinforce one another.
A five-year action plan to be released Tuesday will move the Ontario towards a universally accessible child-care system.
Toronto Star - June 6, 2017
Ontario is about to become the first province outside Quebec committed to creating affordable child-care spaces for all parents who want them, according to an ambitious new vision to be released Tuesday.
“This renewed framework is a bold step forward,” said Indira Naidoo-Harris, minister responsible for early years and child care, in a statement to child care advocates. “It contains a ground-breaking set of initiatives that will help us continue to transform the early years and child-care system.”
Toronto Star - June 5th, 2017
Provincial operating funding for home child-care agencies will begin in 2018 and is part of Ontario’s previously announced plan to create 100,000 new licensed child-care spots for children under age 4. Spaces will also be added in schools and community-based settings under the initiative that will be fleshed out on Tuesday.
The funding is in addition to $200 million announced in the provincial budget to create 8,000 new licensed spots in child-care centres and subsidize 16,000 low- and moderate-income families this year.
Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs
$15 Minimum Wage and Equal Pay for Part-Time and Full-Time Workers Part of Plan to Help People Get Ahead in a Changing Economy
News Release - Office of the Premier
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced yesterday that the minimum wage will be increased over the next 2 years from $11.40 to $15.00/hr by June 2019 along with other measures to ensure decent work for everyone.
When we raise the floor, everyone benefits - this is good news for children and families in Ontario. RECEs and staff can see how precarious and low paid work negatively impacts the families that we serve and the young children that we care for and educate. A raise in the minimum wage to $15/hour and further changes to the Employment Standards Act means healthier families across the province.
What does a $15 min wage mean for RECEs in Ontario?
- A $15 min wage takes us one step closer to Professional Pay for RECEs!
- Taken together with wage enhancement grants the min wage for RECEs working in licensed child care will reach $17/ hour when the new $15 min wage is implemented.
- 24% of RECEs working in licensed child care currently earn less than $15 an hour. This means a wage increase for a whole quarter of RECE professionals working in licensed child care!
- RECEs and staff working in family resource and early years centres who currently make less than $15 an hour and do not receive any wage enhancements will finally get a raise.
- Wages for RECEs cannot continue to be paid through the market (i.e. parent fees) the AECEO will continue to support our RECE professionals through our Professional Pay and Decent Work campaign and to campaign for direct funding to early years and child care programs to pay all RECEs across the sector a professional wage that commensurate with practitioners’ education, experience and responsibilities.
Higher wages and better working conditions will improve our workplaces, our communities and our lives, including the lives of our families.
Urgent Action!! Once in a generation opportunity to improve Ontario Labour Laws!
What we do today is absolutely critical. Our Members of Provincial Parliament are set to meet tomorrow (Wednesday) to decide how far to go on labour law reform. We want to tell them to take it all the way. Unfortunately, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce is already pushing back -- but we have the majority of Ontarians on our side! In fact, more and more employers are with us in speaking out for decent work. Let's make sure our elected officials do the right thing.
The AECEO is calling on all Registered Early Childhood Educators and Early Years Staff in Ontario to help push for a once in a generation update to Ontario’s labour laws. The demands from the $15 and Fairness campaign would improve work life for ECEs and all workers in the province of Ontario.
Please take 15 minutes today to call or email your MPP and Cabinet Ministers Michael Coteau, Minister of Children and Youth Services,
Tracy MacCharles, Minister responsible for Women's Issues; and Minister Indira Naidoo-Harris, Minister responsible for Early Years and Child Care.
“Cabinet will soon decide on the biggest overhaul of Ontario’s labour law in a generation – raising minimum wage up to $15 an hour, boosting private sector unionization and targeting companies that rely unfairly on part-time or contract work.”
Message from $15 and Fairness campaign:
Take 15 minutes right now to call and email your MPP and ask them to support a $15 minimum wage, 7 paid sick days and all other aspects of $15 and Fairness. Please call your MPP and ask them to:
- Legislate at least seven (7) paid sick days, extend job-protection to all workplaces for 10 days of unpaid emergency leave and provide three weeks of paid vacation to all workers.
- End exemptions or exceptions in the Employment Standards Act (ESA) and Labour Relations Act (LRA) - the rules apply to everyone and protect everyone.
- Expand the definition of employer in both the ESA and LRA, including joint and several liabilities as well as related and joint employers.
- Legislate equal pay and benefits for equal work (including temporary agency, part-time, casual and contract workers) and eliminate sub-minimum wage rates established in the ESA.
- Provide at least two weeks of advanced scheduling notice.
- Expand the definition of employee to stop the misclassification of workers.
- Invest in stronger enforcement of the ESA and LRA and prosecute employers who flout the law.
- Extend just cause protection within the LRA and to ESA.
- Enshrine the right to free association through protection for concerted activity.
- Restore card-check certification; provide early disclosure of workplace information (neutral, online or telephone voting); remedial certification; and expedited and extended power to reinstate workers before the first agreement.
- Provide access to first contract arbitration.
- Extend successor rights to protect workers in the case of contract flipping.
- Consolidate bargaining units in the case of the same certified bargaining agent.
- Provide a framework for broader-based bargaining.
- Guarantee the right to strike - including prohibiting the use of replacement workers, safeguarding the rights of workers who have been involved in a labour dispute (including reinstatement after six months and prohibiting employers from unilaterally deciding to "clean house" after a strike).
- Mandate paid leave for domestic and sexual violence survivors.
- Increase the minimum wage to $15.00 immediately.
Already called your MPP? Help spread the word:
- Forward this email to 3 friends and co-workers, ask them to make a call
- Share this photo on social media; click here for Facebook, click here for Twitter
- Make this image your profile picture (just like we did) and tag other friends to invite them to do the same
Parents and Educators hold Mother’s Day Weekend stroller brigade to draw attention to Ontario’s child care crisis
While parent fees are high, many Registered Early Childhood Educators are putting off starting their own families or leaving the field because wages in the sector are too low.
This Mother’s Day weekend, parents and Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs) are holding a Stroller Brigade at Toronto City Hall on May 13th 2017 from 10 am – 12 pm to call for an early years and child care system that provides professional pay and decent work, supported by the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario (AECEO) and the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care (OCBCC).
With the Ontario government’s recent promise to create 100,000 child care spaces over five years, parents and educators are expecting Kathleen Wynne to deliver big things for child care. But with 24% of RECEs and 67% of other staff working in licensed child care making $15/hour or less, decent work can’t wait five years or until the next election.
Educators and parents are sending a message to Premier Kathleen Wynne that RECEs and early years staff are valuable partners who support communities.
“As a parent with a son in child care, I see the vital work that educators do every day. They deserve professional pay and decent work now.” said Toronto mother Munizah Salman.
With the government’s proposed expansion of child care spaces comes the promise of 20,000 new jobs in child care. But to attract and retain the best educators and staff the Ontario government must ensure a child care system with professional pay and decent work.
“I know that too many educators can’t afford to stay working in a profession that they love. As an ECE student looking to the future, I want to contribute my professional skills and knowledge, but it’s only fair to expect decent wages and working conditions.” said Sophia Mohamed, a George Brown College Early Childhood Leadership student.
“RECEs are the key to quality child care, so it is critical that the workforce is considered when funding and planning to build new quality child care spaces. Child care is more than places and spaces – it’s time to value every educator.” said Lyndsay Macdonald, Coordinator of the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario.
Stroller Brigade route:
10 am – meet in front of Hester How playground (West side of City Hall)
March West on Queen St W to University Ave
March North on University Ave to Dundas St W
March East on Dundas St W and finish at Dundas Square
AECEO response to 2017 Ontario budget
The AECEO welcomes the Ontario government’s $200 million in operating funding and injection into the child care subsidy system, however we are still waiting for a commitment to address the chronic undervaluing of the Early Childhood (EC) workforce.
Building on the government’s promise for 100,000 new child care spaces announced in September 2016, the budget devotes funds to the creation of 24,000 more child care spaces this year and subsidies for up to 60% of these spaces.
“We were hoping that the budget would outline the government’s funding plan for the full expansion over five years,” said Lyndsay Macdonald, Provincial Coordinator at the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario. “Early Childhood Educators and Early Years staff in Ontario need to know that affordability for families won’t come at the expense of decent wages – we really can’t talk about affordability for parents without also talking about good wages and working conditions for educators.”
While we know from previous announcements that the Wage Enhancement Grant will continue this year, Early Childhood Educators and Early Years staff need to know that a more systemic solution to improve wages and working conditions will be featured prominently as part of the government’s renewed child care framework.
It is critical to point out that 100,000 new, high quality child care spaces are dependent on at least 20,000 new jobs for ECEs and staff. To attract and retain the best educators in our sector we need a comprehensive plan to address the current recruitment and retention strains. Without addressing decent work for the EC workforce, it will be impossible to sustain the quality child care spaces that exist, let alone expand the availability of quality child care options for parents. As it stands, the EC workforce remains in a position where they can seldom afford the very services they provide.
We are heartened that Minister Naidoo-Harris has announced, “an important pillar in our upcoming framework includes new ways to support the workforce, our early childhood educators and provide opportunities for our world class ECEs”. We wait optimistically for the renewed framework.
Ontario budget puts focus on children’s well-being
Toronto Star - March 27, 2017
Finance Minister Charles Sousa and Indira Naidoo-Harris, Minister responsible for early years and child care, today announced the investment of $200 million in operating funding to allow the creation 24,000 new child care spaces in the province as well as additional funding for 13,000 subsidies in 2017-18 to address immediate needs of families. These measures are part of the government's renewed framework for the early years and child care in Ontario which will be presented in the next few weeks.
The AECEO commends the government for its significant commitment to improving life for children and families in Ontario by creating 100,000 new child care spaces over the next five years and allocations in its 2017 budget of funding to begin to address the access and affordability crisis in the province.
Our pre-budget submission strongly recommended that funds in the 2017 budget be directed to the Ministry of Education to support systemic solutions that address affordability for parents and compensation for Early Childhood Educators and early years staff. Our recommendation was for base funding of operational costs for non-profit and community programs coupled with a sliding fee scale as a funding structure to ensure professional pay and decent work for all ECEs and early years staff.
Yesterday at our pre-budget press conference we reminded Kathleen Wynne that Ontario's Early Childhood Educators, parents, families and children are expecting big things for child care in this year's provincial budget including how the government plans to address decent work for the Early Childhood workforce as part of a comprehensive workforce strategy. We were heartened to hear Minister Naidoo-Harris say at today's press conference that “...an important pillar in our upcoming framework includes new ways to support the workforce, our early childhood educators and provide opportunities for our world class ECEs.” because we can't talk about affordability without also talking about good wages and jobs for the workforce.
The AECEO and the OCBCC have convened an expert task force to make policy recommendations to the Ontario government on its strategy for the early childhood workforce. The the Minister's words today are a step in the right direction and we look forward to working together to address our recommendations in legislation this fall.
Helping Ontario Families Access Affordable Child Care
Ontario news release - April 26, 2017
Watch recorded video coverage of announcement here
Ontario budget to pump millions into child care subsidies
Toronto Star, April 26, 2017
eceLINK Spring 2017
Decent work for Ontario’s Early Childhood Workforce must be a pillar of the government’s plan to build a better future for children and families in Ontario. ECEs, parents, and government have a common goal: high quality care and education for our youngest learners. As research shows, ECEs and sta are key to quality. Ensuring better wages and working conditions that support educators to provide high quality care and education must be the foundation upon which we build a better future for everyone in our province.
In This Issue:
- AECEO Submission to the Ministry of Education Consultations
- Spring into Action for Decent Work! (Featured article available to the public)
- Canadian University and College Early Learning Lab Schools: What are they about?
- AECEO Submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs
- Annual AECEO Member meeting notice
- and more....
We would like to thank the following advertisers for helping to support this issue of the eceLINK
Toronto Star - Wed., March 22, 2017
The $7 billion earmarked in the budget for child care includes $500 million already allocated for 2017-18 to kick-start a national program with the provinces and territories based on the principles of affordability, accessibility, flexibility and inclusiveness.
Changing the status quo for child care: Easy as pie--1, 2, 3--A, B, C
In 2012, the National Film Board released Status Quo, Karen Cho's documentary that aptly identified child care as one of three pieces of “the unfinished business of feminism in Canada". A national child care program, the film observed, was one of the few (if not the only) recommendation of the 1970 Royal Commission on the Status of Women that had not been addressed at all.
So on International Women's Day 2017--five years and a change of government since the film's debut--it is timely to take stock of the Canadian child care status quo once again.
AECEO submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs’ Pre-budget consultation process
In our response to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs' Pre Budget consultation process, the AECEO has made several recommendations to support the concept of transforming the current patchwork system of early years and child care services that parents and families currently struggle to navigate.
Every day, ECEs make the difficult decision to leave the sector and the work that they love due to low wages and challenging working conditions that hinder their ability to fulfill their professional roles in early years and child care programs. An alarming concern as the anticipated transformation of early years and child care in Ontario rests on the ability of the early childhood (EC) workforce to take up 20,000 new jobs. In order to recruit and retain well-trained, well-educated and passionate ECEs it is imperative that the Government of Ontario address the root of the problem:
The AECEO recommended that the Ontario Government develop and invest in a comprehensive workforce strategy for the ECE profession that includes
- A provincially established, annually indexed, regional wage scale along with annually indexed base funding for child care and other family resource and support programs in order to equitably raise the salaries, working conditions and morale of all ECEs and early years staff and to strengthen recruitment and retention. A standardized wage rate in the early years and child care sector will ensure staff with equivalent education and work responsibilities are paid a similar rate of pay no matter where they work. These initiatives would further contribute to higher and more consistent quality across programs. The Government of Manitoba announced a wage scale program on January 12, 2016.
- We support the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care’s call for at least $500 million in capital funding for Year 1 of the child care expansion to begin to make a real difference in availability of spaces; provide $300 million in new operating funding to keep pace with expansion of spaces, to support child care services directly and kick start a process of system transformation. The province should contribute an additional $75 million to address immediate crises faced by existing programs;
- The province should commit to moving from the current broken fee subsidy system to an affordable sliding fee scale, and begin work immediately to design an affordable fee model that works for all Ontario families;
- A provincial mandate and supporting funding arrangement to make the Designated ECE position in full-day kindergarten a full-time, full-year position comparable to that of elementary school teachers;
- Support for essential ongoing education and professional learning for early childhood educators and early years staff at all levels, no matter where they work;
- Appropriate infrastructure support, including funding to facilities, programming, curriculum development, and early childhood education and care organizations.
For a third straight year, Ontario is increasing wages to help keep child care professionals in licensed child care settings and encourage growth in the sector, ensuring that children and families across the province continue to benefit from safe, high-quality child care that promotes early learning and development.
As part of Ontario's commitment to supporting child care professionals, the program will receive ongoing, annual funding. This year, the province will provide:
- An ongoing wage enhancement, up to $2 per hour plus benefits, for eligible child care workers and home visitors in the licensed child care sector.
- An ongoing enhancement, up to $20 per day, for eligible home child care providers.
- A raise in the maximum hourly wage to be eligible for the wage enhancement - an increase of 1.5 per cent to $26.68 per hour. For home child care providers, the daily fees maximum will be $266.80 per day.
AECEO Submission to Ministry of Education, Early Years Division’s Consultation on Early Years and Child Care Strategy
The AECEO has long called for a publicly funded, high quality, universal child care system in Ontario – one that is affordable for all families and that ensures professional pay and decent work for the early childhood (EC) workforce.
We were very pleased to submit our response, highlighting the need for support for the early childhood workforce, to the Ministry of Education’s consultations on its Early Years and Child Care Strategy.
The AECEO is the professional association for Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) in Ontario. We support ECEs in their professional practice and advocate for the recognition and appropriate compensation of the profession. Our members are working throughout Ontario in programs for young children and their families, including regulated child care, full-day kindergarten, family resource programs and support services for children with disabilities, among others.
As ECEs, we support the government of Ontario’s commitment to transforming the way early years and child care/early learning programs are delivered in the province. As studies have shown, investment in early childhood education and care (ECEC) through accessible, quality, and affordable options has significant positive economic implications for individuals and for society.
MPP Indira Naidoo-Harris, Minister responsible for Early Years and Child Care has referred to the government’s commitment as Ontario’s opportunity to be transformative, to be groundbreaking and to be visionary (Toronto Consultation, December 7th 2016). The AECEO applauds this significant commitment and we look forward to working with the government in addressing barriers to EC workforce advancement. We also applaud the government’s commitment to the consultation process, as consultation with the early years and child care sector is a vital component of this transformation. The AECEO requests that the Ministry of Education release a summary of what they heard from the community through the consultation process as we work together to “get this done right” (Toronto Consultation, December 7th 2016)
In This Issue:
- Decent Work for all RECEs and early years staff in Ontario, no matter where they work
- THE "DIG INTO PLAY" STORY: Reimagining Public Spaces for Play (Featured article available to the public)
- AECEO PROFESSIONAL LEARNING PARTNERSHIP
- EMPOWERING ECE STUDENTS: A profile of the Ryerson Student Childcare Advocacy Association
- 2017-2018 PROVINCIAL BOARD NOMINATIONS FORM
- MEMBER 'S MOTIONS GUIDELINES/FORM
- And more.....
This holiday season, why not give an exceptional teacher or early childhood educator the gift of recognition by nominating them for a Prime Minister's Award.
National awards are worth $5,000 and recipients honoured by the Prime Minister. Nomination packages are available at www.pma.gc.ca.
You have until January 9, 2017 to submit a nomination. For more information visit www.pma.gc.ca or call 613-991-4255
2016 child care fees in Canada’s big cities
This study, the third in a series beginning in 2014, reveals the most and least expensive cities for child care in Canada. The study provides an annual snapshot of median parental child care fees in Canada’s biggest 28 cities for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. It finds that wait lists are common for regulated child care, which is more expensive than it was two years ago, with fees rising an average of over 8% since 2014—three times faster than inflation.