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Toronto, Ont. - Wednesday, October 26 is the 5th annual day of appreciation for child care workers and Early Childhood Educators in Ontario and a celebration of the public initiatives that are moving early learning and child care forward in Ontario and Canada.

CUPE Ontario and the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care (OCBCC) founded this day in 2001 and sponsors now include the United Steelworkers, Ontario Public Service Employees Union, National Union of Public and General Employees, Canadian Auto Workers, Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, the Ontario Federation of Labour and the Service Employees International Union.

Today we are celebrating the policy and funding initiatives that are laying the foundation for a community-friendly system dedicated to quality, universality, accessibility, inclusivity and developmental care and education. Most provinces and territories have signed agreements with Ottawa committing a total of $5 billion over the next five years, says Shellie Bird, President, OCBCC.

Over 130 municipalities in Ontario have officially proclaimed today Child Care Worker and Early Childhood Educator Appreciation Day. Across the province, thousands of child care graduates will be showing their appreciation for their child care teachers by sharing memories and stories, wearing buttons and displaying posters produced for the celebration.

· At the Teddy Bear Day Care in Sudbury, Deputy Mayor Ron Bradley joins the Sudbury Child Care Action Network to read the proclamation and present staff with certificates of appreciation. “Families and parents are writing notes, drawing pictures, and writing poems about their child’s educator,” says Tracy Saarikoski, of the Sudbury CCAN.

· At Windsor’s Glengarry Child Care Centre (Thompson Towers, 495 Glengarry Avenue), CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan and City Councillor Ron Jones are joined by CUPE 543 child care workers and children in celebrating the achievements of regulated, high quality child care.

In Ottawa, Elini Bakopanos, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Social Development Ken Dryden, and Ottawa Mayor Bob Chiarelli will join early childhood educators, child care workers, children and parents at the Nepean Sportsplex, (Salon A & B, 1701 Woodroffe Ave., Nepean) from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.

It’s time to think positively about our children and the important role of Early Childhood Educators and child care workers in their lives and in the broader community,” says Bird.

Sid Ryan, President, CUPE Ontario says that CUPE members and our allies in the child care sector have made early childhood care and education a key issue in our province and in our country and will continue to play an important supporting role in achieving positive later life outcomes for our children and grandchildren.”

Both Ryan and Bird agree that one of the best ways to support the good work that child care workers and early childhood educators do is to create a directly funded, non-profit system for them to work in. The research in Canada and internationally demonstrates that non-profit child care generally, as a service delivery model, serves children and families better.

On the eve of Ontario’s Children’s Summit taking place in Toronto tomorrow, we take the opportunity today to congratulate our Minister, Mary Anne Chambers, for stating on October 13th that there is no place for large commercial child care operations in Ontario, and to urge her to take the necessary steps to translate this commitment into provincial policy that will make it happen,” says Bird, continuing: “We also reiterate our call on Ontario to commit to a grand-parenting policy that would limit the expansion of new child care to the non-profit sector only.”

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For more information, please contact:

Sid Ryan
President, CUPE Ontario
416-209-0066 (cell)

Kira Heineck
Executive Director
OCBCC, 416-538-0628 ext 3

Catherine Macleod
CUPE Communications
416-299-9739 ext 264; 519-524-3340 (cell)