OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas issued the following statement today to mark Child Care Worker and Early Childhood Educator Appreciation Day.
Today marks Child Care Worker and Early Childhood Educator Appreciation Day. On this day, October 25, OPSEU salutes all our members who create a brighter future for children through their work supporting children, families and communities.
Child care advocates across the province are asking the province to transform the patchwork of child care services we currently have into a comprehensive, public, affordable and sustainable system. The 100,000 new licensed child care spaces the province announced a year ago are a good start. But more spaces alone won’t fix all the problems in the child care system. The Ontario government has promised to transform early learning and child care. That’s good, but we need to work together to ensure that this is done right.
OPSEU supports the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care’s call for the government to:
- Set affordable fees for parents. Individual fee subsidies should be replaced with a more modern approach. Ontario should provide base funding to child care programs and set an affordable, geared-to-income, sliding fee scale.
- Create decent work for educators. To hire and keep the best staff we need Ontario to make fair wages and good working conditions a priority. Funding fair wages for educators will help us build good, stable programs for our children.
- Limit for-profit child care. We need every child care dollar going to our kids, not private profits. Ontario should ensure that none of the new 100,000 child care space are in for-profit operations.
Implementing these policies is about demonstrating political courage. It’s also about putting a stop to the continued undervaluing of caregiving and early childhood education work.
Today, we celebrate the many ways in which child care workers and early childhood educators make a positive difference in shaping the next generation. They do this with courage and grace in the absence of a supportive, stable, and comprehensive system. On behalf of all 130,000 OPSEU members, today is the day we say “thank you” to all those workers.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union