TORONTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–More than 1,500 early childhood educators (ECEs), child care workers and supporters have signed an online letter calling on the federal and provincial governments to ensure that the child care agreement Children in Ontario includes a salary grid and a strategy to deal with the province’s growing child care worker crisis.
Ontario has until March 31 to sign on to the federal child care plan, or risk losing more than $1 billion in federal funding. The Association of Early Childhood Educators of Ontario (AECEO) and the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care (OCBCC) have released an open letter asking:
A salary grid including a starting salary of $25 per hour for educators and caregivers;
A starting wage of $30 per hour for ECEs;
A minimum daily rate for licensed home child care providers;
Benefits package and decent work standards, including paid sick days.
“The child care workforce is at breaking point. Educators are burnt out, burnt out and many are leaving the sector, leaving centers across the province short-staffed. Ontario’s child care plan must immediately respond to this crisis with a strategy to ensure decent work and wages for child care workers,” said Rachel Vickerson, Executive Director of AECEO.
The letter further explains how labor shortages and years of chronic underfunding have impacted childcare, especially as many centers have been forced to close permanently during the pandemic. , limit registrations or change opening hours. Frontline child care workers report growing problems recruiting and retaining staff will significantly hamper Ontario’s plan to expand space and eliminate waiting lists for child care, report the OCBCC and the AECEO.
“There is no child care without the child care workforce. They are the key to quality child care programs. The Pan-Canadian Child Care Plan aims to increase the number of child care spaces to serve more families, but that won’t be possible without an ECE retraining and recruitment plan,” said Carolyn Ferns, Policy Coordinator at the OCBCC.