Join the conversation in upcoming Provincial consultations
January 14, 2023 – The province of Ontario, including the city of Brampton, could be facing a shortage of 8,500 registered early childhood educators (RECEs) as the province expands its child-care spaces under the national $10-a-day program, according to government estimates.
This shortage could have a significant impact on families in Brampton who rely on licensed child care and early childhood education services.
The province will hold consultation sessions with people in the child-care sector starting next week to address this issue, and families and child care providers in Brampton are encouraged to participate in these sessions and voice their concerns and ideas to help address the predicted shortage of RECEs in the area.
The government predicts that 14,700 new RECEs will be needed by 2025-26 when the full fee reductions and 86,000 new spaces are in place, but without additional steps to address recruitment and retention, it is unlikely that target will be met. The sector is already facing a staffing crunch, with the number of RECEs in licensed child care decreasing by 7% between 2019 and 2021.
As part of Ontario’s deal with the federal government, the province set a wage floor for RECEs at $18 an hour in 2022, increasing by $1 a year up to $25. Advocates have said that these amounts are too low to attract and retain enough staff.
The consultations will also look at access, inclusion, equity, and pedagogy, but the most important issue to start with is workforce, particularly retention, said Rachel Vickerson, executive director of the Association of Early Childhood Educators of Ontario.
The association has called for an immediate $25 minimum wage for non-ECE child-care staff and $30 an hour for registered ECEs as well as the implementation of a wage grid as an incentive to keep workers in the sector.
The Brampton child-care sector is facing a crisis, and it is important for the families and child care providers in the area to actively participate in the consultation sessions and advocate for solutions that will address the shortage of RECEs and ensure that families have access to quality child-care services.