On April 24-25, the National Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Workforce Policy Table held a two-day face-to-face meeting in Toronto. The focus was on current issues and policy recommendations regarding wages, benefits, and pensions for the ELCC workforce. This meeting is part of Educators Matter, a project dedicated to the ELCC workforce by Child Care Now. 

The meeting was attended by 24 Policy Table members, project staff, and three observers. The Policy Table consists of members from diverse roles within the Canadian ELCC sector, including ECE professional associations, operators, post-secondary institutions, labour, sector councils, policy research, and representatives from Indigenous communities. Carolyn Ferns from the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care facilitated the meeting, with assistance from Jade Lillace of the Childcare Resource and Research Unit.

Standing (left to right): Frances Chartrand, Jennifer Nangreaves, Marni Flaherty, Christa Japel, Joanne Morris, Carolyn Ferns, Jane Beach, Rea Knight, Martha Friendly, Jackie Rodler, Ruth Lindsey-Armstrong, Christine Massing, Patsy McKinney, Rachel Vickerson, Diane Daley, Annalise Yuzda, Chris Smith. Sitting (left to right): Tho Nguyen, Julie Cyr, Emily Mlieczko, Jackie Schapansky, Lily Maniapik. Virtual: Lynell Anderson, Jodie Kehl, Nicki Dublenko, Morna Ballantyne, Eric Swanson.

Over the two days, the Policy Table identified the scope of current challenges facing the workforce concerning wages, benefits and pensions. Through discussions based on their sectoral experience and background research conducted by the project staff, the Table developed “problem definitions” to guide the development of policy solutions in these areas.

One of the primary goals of the Educators Matter project is to create a space for the community to engage in deep discussions about workforce policy planning and implementation. To facilitate this, the meeting incorporated ideas and experiences from other sectors to provide fresh perspectives on workforce issues in the ELCC sector.

Four speakers were invited to present and engage with the Policy Table on critical topics, including options for developing pension and health benefits plans, the advocacy experiences of nurses and Quebec’s early childhood educators (ECEs) in improving wages and working conditions.

By the end of the meeting, filled with inspiring learning and conversations in various group formats, the Policy Table developed two sets of policy recommendations. These recommendations address current issues and support long-term planning for wages, benefits, and pensions within the ELCC sector. The policy recommendations will be published soon on the Educators Matter’s project webpage and shared with the community for feedback. 

About the project

Educators Matter is a three-year project by Child Care Now, dedicated to advancing collective knowledge on Canada’s early learning and child care (ELCC) workforce. The project aims to develop policy solutions that address the retention and recruitment crisis and support the implementation of a high-quality Canada-wide ELCC system.

About the National ELCC Workforce Policy Table

Through the Policy Table, the Educators Matter project seeks to represent diverse experiences and perspectives of early childhood educators (ECEs), operators, and others committed to policy changes that improve the working conditions of ECEs and child care workers across Canada. The composition of the Policy Table will continue to expand as gaps in collective knowledge are identified and relationships develop between the project and the community.