Archive for Advocacy

18 Jun 2013

Wage Enhancement for ECE

No Comments Advocacy, Early Childhood Education

One of the most prevalent struggles in the early childhood education and care field has to do with wages. Many ECEs aren’t paid enough forcing some out of the field and others to take second jobs. Still others simply struggle or rely on their partner’s wages to make ends meet. This has been an ongoing issue for decades now and yet still nothing has been done to rectify this. In fact in Ontario quite the opposite has happened: the most recent changes to provincial child care funding has eliminated the previously dedicated (and very limited) wage enhancement grant which child care providers were only able to use for staff wages. Although these centres will continue to receive operating grants, the concern is that this money will be redirected to other parts of the program because wages are not the only area of need in child care.

When we discuss the low wages in this field, there are a lot of talks about reforming the system, creating a national child care plan or unionizing all child care centres. These are ambitious goals and although I appreciate the big picture thinking, I often wonder why we don’t put more focus on smaller, more attainable steps.

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see an affordable, high quality, national child care system and maybe I will in my lifetime, but it doesn’t seem likely any time soon. So, in the meantime, can’t we look at the smaller picture and make things just a little easier for ECEs and child care operators? Let’s bring back the wage enhancement grant, let’s make it available to everyone and let’s top it up so ECEs can stop picking change out of the couch cushions. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

15 Nov 2012

Why isn’t child care a priority?

2 Comments Advocacy, Child Care

Lately I am disheartened as I continue to hear and to read about child care centres that are closing their doors because of funding. Most concerning are the municipal and regional centres that are closing their doors. First Windsor, more recently Peel and now there are other publicly funded centres who are on the proverbial chopping block. All this is addition to the child care closures that are happening in the private sector. The other element of this that I take issue with is that the blame for Ontario child care closures often gets put on Full Day Kindergarten (FDK). I understand that child care centres, both public and private have seen changes since the implementation of FDK, but the issue isn’t the FDK program, the issue is funding. Lack of funding is what’s responsible for closing child care centres, not Ontario’s new kindergarten program. Changes are happening in the early learning and care sector, and I truly believe we should embrace these changes as a good thing.

However, embracing these changes and supporting child care programs to shift and grow to accommodate the different needs in our communities needs to start at the top. What message are we sending to private owners and non-profit agencies who are struggling to adapt to serving a younger child care population when our municipalities and regions aren’t willing to keep their money in child care? How do we expect those centres to push through these struggles with their limited resources when our governments are jumping ship and getting out of the child care business? Why isn’t child care a priority?

We need to speak up. In our communities, in our government; our voices need to be heard and we need to remind them how important the early years are and how important child care is to our community. We couldn’t function without it.

And speaking of a day without child care, I came across this video a while back that a group in California put together, showcasing just how important child care is to the community.

A Day without Child Care

We need to speak up and save quality child care in our communities.

Photo from Bonnerlibrary on Flickr