The Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care (OCBCC) and Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario (AECEO) have jointly released a position paper and policy brief highlighting the child care workforce shortage and how a publicly funded salary scale can support the successful implementation of the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) plan. 

The position paper is the latest piece in the organizations’ ongoing series Roadmap to Universal Child Care in Ontario, which set out a vision and actionable solutions for early learning and child care in the province.

While the child care workforce crisis in Ontario is complex, a primary root cause of this workforce crisis is the persistently low and uncompetitive wages that Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs) and non-RECE staff receive. 

The province’s CWELCC action plan raising the wage floor to $19 per hour in 2023 still leaves Ontario’s child care workers earning significantly less than their counterparts in other provinces, particularly compared to the six provinces that have implemented wage grids.

Public sector child care programs and certain non-profit operators, through processes like pay equity and collective bargaining, have managed to establish more equitable wages in Ontario’s early years and child care system. However, it is crucial to implement a comprehensive, publicly funded, province-wide salary scale to ensure fair wages throughout the sector.

The OCBCC and AECEO’s new position paper and policy brief outline five guiding principles for establishing the salary scale:

  1. Funding the workforce is funding quality.
  2. Decent compensation for all.
  3. Recognition of qualifications, experience and responsibilities. Development of job roles.
  4. Respect for existing decent wages and collective agreements.
  5. Commitment to a democratic process that meaningfully includes educators to determine their wages, benefits and working conditions

The paper calls for an immediate publicly-funded salary scale of $25/hour for child care workers and at least $30-40 for RECEs to to immediately stabilize the workforce. Additionally, the paper calls for the development of long-term workforce solutions with the democratic participation of those who work in the sector, and their representative organizations.  

Child Care Now urges Ontario and federal policymakers to heed the recommendations so that early childhood educators start receiving the compensation they deserve. Establishing a publicly funded salary scale is the key to a stabilized and thriving ECE workforce—the core of an accessible, high quality early years system for Ontario’s children and families.

About the OCBCC

The Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care (OCBCC) is Ontario’s central advocacy group for a universal, affordable, high quality, public and non-profit system of early childhood education and care. Formed in 1981, the OCBCC is a member organization comprising child care centres, national and provincial groups and individuals from all across Ontario. Our members are ECEs, child care workers, parents, grandparents, centre directors and trade unionists – most importantly we are people who care about child care.

About the AECEO

The Association of Early Childhood Educators of Ontario (AECEO) is the professional association for early childhood educators and has a mandate to advocate on behalf of the profession and support their work by responding to current issues on their behalf, providing ongoing resources and information about the ECEC field, and providing opportunities for professional development and collaboration.