Toronto, ON— October 17th, 2023
As a child care workforce shortage is limiting families’ access to affordable child care, a new report shows that Ontario has fallen behind most other provinces on wages in child care.
The report from the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care and the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario shows that Ontario is one of only four provinces that still has not introduced a salary scale or wage grid as part of the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care plan (CWELCC). And Ontario's $19 per hour wage floor for Registered Early Childhood Educators is the third lowest in the country – more than $4 less than Alberta, $8 less than Prince Edward Island, and $13 less than Yukon. There is no wage floor for other child care staff beyond the provincial minimum wage.
While the Ontario Ministry of Education held consultations in January on a new child care workforce strategy, the sector is still waiting for the province’s plan. Meanwhile the child care workforce shortage is causing local child care programs to close rooms and limit enrolment at a time when more parents are hoping to gain access to affordable child care spaces.
“It’s a perfect storm. The child care workforce crisis has been worsening since the start of the pandemic and now it is meeting increased demand for child care spaces as fees are lowered. The sad part is that this was entirely predictable and preventable if the Ford government had done more to raise ECE and child care worker wages. Everyone the Ministry has consulted with has told them to raise wages, but instead Ontario is falling further and further behind.” said Carolyn Ferns of the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care.
The OCBCC and AECEO’s report is being released to coincide with the 23rd annual ECE and Child Care Worker Appreciation Day, a day that is meant to celebrate the value of the child care workforce.
“It’s time to move beyond thank-yous. The Ontario government needs to show they care about ECEs and child care workers by immediately raising wages. That is the only way that we can retain ECEs in the sector, re-attract those who have left and recruit more skilled educators to the field.” said Alana Powell of the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario.
The OCBCC and AECEO’s report sets out the child care community’s position on a publicly funded salary scale and demands immediate action to boost ECE and child care worker wages. The report calls for:
- A salary scale of at least $30-$40 per hour for RECEs.
- At least $25 per hour for non-RECE staff.
- Annual increases and steps to reward years of service.
- Immediate implementation of benefit and pension plans.
Policy Coordinator, Ontario Coalition For Better Child Care
Executive Director, Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario