As the professional association for RECEs in Ontario it is our purpose to advocate for respect, recognition and appropriate wages and working conditions for all RECEs. It is in light of this that the AECEO expresses disappointment at the Ministry of Education's decision to remove the For Profit Maximum Threshold.
We know that RECEs are the key to quality in the early years’ sector - qualified and caring educators are essential to children’s experiences in child care settings. RECEs deserve professional pay and good working conditions; these are essential to the ethical and caring practice of RECEs, as noted in the AECEO’s Decent Work Charter. We believe that early childhood education and care is a public good and human right, not a commodity. From this position, the AECEO disagrees with the removal of the For Profit Maximum Threshold. We are concerned with this step towards privatization of the early childhood sector, which suggests the current government is taking a step away from their responsibility to provide quality, affordable, inclusive, and accessible early years and child care programs. The AECEO also firmly believes that the Ministry of Education should continue working with the sector to implement the workforce strategy and wage scale that was developed to address recruitment and retention of RECEs.
The AECEO supports the decision by the Ministry of Education to continue the Wage Enhancement Grant (WEG). However, we know this is not enough to provide decent work and professional pay to all RECEs across the province. Therefore, the WEG must be expanded immediately to include all RECEs in Ontario while alternative solutions are developed.
In 2017, the AECEO’s Decent Work Task Force published Transforming Work in Ontario’s Early Years and Child Care Sector, which presented key policy recommendations to advance the early childhood profession, including:
- Develop a new base funding approach to early years and child care programs in Ontario that will ensure quality, affordability and access
- Implement a provincial wage scale with a $25/hr minimum for RECEs and a benefit package, including paid sick and personal leave days, for registered early childhood educators.
We know that only with these structural changes will we achieve professional compensation and decent work for all RECEs as defined in the Ontario Early Childhood Sector Decent Work Charter. We are calling on the Ministry of Education to adopt the AECEO’s policy recommendations, so we can achieve professional pay and decent work for all RECEs in Ontario.