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Warren Smokey Thomas and Eddy Almeida

It’s time for universal child care

Young boy in a blue shirt smiles as (faded) children look on behind
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As Canada celebrates Child Care Worker and Early Childhood Educator (ECE) Appreciation Day on October 22, our thoughts are with dedicated child care, Designated Early Childhood Educators (DECE), and ECE members working in the community, schools, and community colleges. 

With millions of Ontarians working from home, we have an even greater appreciation for the people who work so hard to ensure our young children learn and thrive in a welcoming and nurturing environment. 

Child care centres have struggled under COVID-19. Many are having difficulty getting staff back into a notoriously low-wage workplace amidst a life-threating pandemic, meaning a lack of child care spaces has only become worse. 

COVID-19 has also underscored the continuing economic inequality between women and men. Many women had to leave their jobs to care for children as child care facilities and schools closed. For a strong recovery, Canada needs all hands on deck, which means accessible, affordable child care. 

That’s why we’re more convinced than ever that Ontario needs a publicly funded, universal child care system. The highly successful experience of Quebec, where the cost is $8 a day for families making less than $51,000, proves that it’s not just doable, but is good for the economy. 

We salute our child care, DECE and ECE members for doing everything possible to protect the health and safety of those in their charge. You deserve our sincere thanks for your heroic efforts – and long-overdue recognition in terms of working conditions, including pay and benefits. 

On this Child Care Worker and Early Childhood Educator Appreciation Day, we have your backs: We won’t rest until you enjoy compensation that reflects your skills and contributions within a publicly funded system. 

On October 22, please give your caregivers a warm word of thanks and encouragement. They work hard every day so the rest of us can focus on our jobs. 

In solidarity, 

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of OPSEU/SEPFO
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer