Transforming Work in Ontario's Early Years and Child Care Sector
Workforce Strategy Recommendations
Prepared by the AECEO's Decent Work Task Force
Download the full report here.
Our vision is for all of Ontario’s children and families to have access to quality affordable early years and child care programs where registered early childhood educators (RECEs) and staff are well supported with professional pay and decent work. This vision is founded on the assumption that early childhood education and care (ECEC) is a public good and a human right, not a commodity.
The following policy recommendations focus on advancing the early childhood profession as one of the key supports in expanding access to early years and child care programs in Ontario while also enhancing quality. The Task Force acknowledges that RECEs work in a wide variety of programs that support young children and families, with this in mind we endeavoured to develop recommendations with a broad sector lens. The recommendations aim to inform the Ministry of Education’s workforce strategy that was announced in Ontario’s Renewed Early Years and Child Care Policy Framework.
Summary of Recommendations
- Develop a new base funding approach to early years and child care programs in Ontario that will ensure quality, affordability and access. A new system of base funding will include substantial increases to operational funding to keep services affordable while ensuring professional compensation, good working conditions and supports for registered early childhood educators (RECEs) and early years staff.
- 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. The wage scale must inform base funding, while recognizing the level of education and years of experience for RECEs and staff in accordance with pay equity principles. In the interim, maintain and immediately extend the Wage Enhancement Grant/Home Child Care Enhancement grant to establish a minimum wage of $25/hr for all RECEs.
- Develop and implement an Early Childhood Workforce Learning Framework which will enable such quality-related staff supports as paid time for professional learning and expanded opportunities for acquiring and upgrading qualifications.
- Create practitioner roles and identify educational requirements alongside a career ladder that will strengthen program quality while formally recognizing the value of credentials and experience. This initiative will support the recruitment and retention of registered early childhood educators and provide a greater incentive to make ECEC a life-long career.
- Change the positions of full-time Designated Early Childhood Educators working in the publicly-funded school systems to year-round and salaried status with compensation commensurate with other full time educators in the public education systems.
- Commission an external review of the Full-Day Kindergarten educator team and classroom conditions to inform future planning and development.