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"I'm more than 'just' an ECE": Decent work from the perspective of Ontario's early childhood workforce

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Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario (AECEO)
Publication Date: 
24 Oct 2016
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With support from the Atkinson Foundation’s Decent Work Fund, the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario (AECEO) in partnership with the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care (OCBCC) and the Atkinson Centre for Society and Child Development have planned and implemented the Professional Pay and Decent Work for All Project. The central goals of this project are:

  • To develop a shared understanding and a shared vision of decent work in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector
  • To document the lived experiences of the early childhood workforce with a specific focus on their human resource (HR) needs and challenges.
  • To identify and nurture leaders in the sector in order to raise the collective voice of the early childhood workforce within the broader movement for decent work.

The project hopes to address the inadequate wages and working conditions experienced by Ontario’s ECEC sector – a challenge that undermines program quality (Langford & Halfon, 2015). Issues of recruitment and retention in Ontario’s early childhood sector are amplified by a widening ‘professionalization gap’ where the expectations and responsibilities of ECEs have increased through legislative and regulatory changes with very little improvement to wages and working conditions. Through eight community mobilization forums designed to be informative, engaging and inclusive of all professionals working in the ECEC sector we sought to uncover the possibilities of a strong and well-supported early childhood workforce in Ontario.