The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) is disappointed that before- and after-school programs operated by school boards in Ontario are not included in the $10-a-day federal child care program. This restriction will have a significant impact on families seeking affordable child care options through schools’ extended day programs. These programs provide seamless learning for students, and can be delivered by board staff (e.g., designated early childhood educators) who support Kindergarten students during the school day.
Given the federal and provincial governments’ decision to exclude these programs from the child care deal, communities are at risk of losing them and the educators who support them. Positions may be lost if programs sit empty because families choose more affordable options through community providers.
To ensure the viability of school board-operated child care programs, the province must ensure extended day programs become eligible for the Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement. In addition, wage enhancements being provided for staff in eligible programs should also apply to staff who support board-run programs.
Until school board-operated extended day programs are included in the agreement, the province should provide additional funding to ensure improvements to these board-operated programs mirror the enhancements being provided to eligible licensed child care programs.
If provincial funding is not provided, designated early childhood educators in affected boards may lose their positions. The government must take action to support this critical workforce to ensure all child care programs in Ontario can continue to provide accessible, convenient, high-quality care for families in every community for $10 a day.
ETFO represents approximately 83,000 members, including public elementary teachers, occasional teachers, designated early childhood educators, education support personnel, and professional support personnel. Visit BuildingBetterSchools.ca.