Child Care Hero ButtonCUPE, the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care (OCBCC), and the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario (AECEO) echo calls on Doug Ford to sign a bilateral child care agreement that puts decent work at its core and includes a moratorium on the expansion of for-profit care.

“There should be no profit in care, including child care,” says Carolyn Ferns, OCBCC Policy Coordinator. “Evidence tells us that publicly funded, not-for-profit, and affordable care is how to best build our child care system in Ontario.”

Premier Ford’s stall tactics in securing a child care deal are a huge detriment to parents and educators across Ontario, reports CUPE.

“Waitlists for child care are too long, and fees are too high. Parents and families urgently need access to quality, affordable child care,” says Ferns. “Ontario’s child care crisis can’t be remedied with band-aid solutions like tax credits—the time for universal child care is now.”

In July 2021, the OCBCC and AECEO released a Roadmap to Universal Child Care in Ontario that features 20 policy interventions to transform early learning and child care from a market-based patchwork to a comprehensive, publicly funded system.

“Reliable, affordable child care allows more women to participate in the labour market and ensures that women, who take on child care responsibilities, can work, go back to school, and gain necessary training and skill development,” says Carrie Lynn Poole-Cotnam, Chair of CUPE Ontario’s social services committee. “Women, particularly those who are Black, Indigenous, and/or racialized, have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Their participation in the workforce has been significantly slower to rebound than men. It’s a women’s economic justice issue that boils down to our government’s inability to make universal, affordable, non-profit child care a reality.”

OCBCC and AECEO have launched an online petition, that has more than 3,500 signatures, calling on Premier Ford and Education Minister Lecce to sign a child care agreement with the federal government.

October 21, 2021, marks the 21st annual Child Care Workers and Early Childhood Educator Appreciation Day that is celebrated by advocates, municipalities, and school boards across Ontario and is marked by hundreds of child care centres, unions, and allies. This year, supporters celebrate Early Learning and Child Care Heroes and further demand that Premier Ford sign a child care deal that includes decent work and pay for ECEs and child care workers.