by Meaghan MacDonell
The Federal Election is officially underway! This is an opportunity to raise our collective voices and make accessible, affordable childcare and fair compensation and decent work for Educators ballot box issues!
As Early Learning professionals, we are well aware of how the conditions we create in our playrooms can impact the development and well-being of the children we support. Yet, we are often unaware or unclear of the political workings and contexts that ultimately drive and dictate those conditions. Our reluctance to see ourselves as part of these processes allow us to be left out of the conversation. This can’t continue!
“Parents entrust their children with early educators at the most critical time in their development and yet society leaves early educators with unmanageable workloads and unlivable wages” (National Head Start Association).
We desperately need a government committed to substantive change and investment in Early Childhood Education and Care.
It is time for Educators to claim their space as experts in their professional practice. No one understands the challenges of our current childcare system better than those who live it every day!
You belong in this process!
“Somewhere inside of all of us is the power to change the world.” – Roald Dahl
But we get it, politics and election hoopla can be nothing short of overwhelming. So consider this your “everything I need to know before I vote” guide; a resource to hopefully help you make a sound and informed decision.
First things first,
- Check your eligibility to vote/registration status.
You can confirm your registration and/or update your information HERE.
You should receive a voter information card in the mail by October 3rd.
2. Know where YOU stand. Reflect on what is important to you as a professional and as a citizen. Then, know where the candidates stand. Ultimately you want to give your vote to a candidate/party that aligns with your values and priorities. Refer to party websites & platforms to understand their position on key issues.
At this time, only the NDP and the Green Party have released full, official platforms. You can access them here:
NDP Platform (Their position on childcare is outlined on p.19)
Green Party Platform (Their position on childcare is outlined on p.62)
Learn more about the candidates in your local riding HERE.
Unsure of your riding? Use this tool.
As outlined in the College of Early Childhood Educators’ Standards of Practice part of our ethical obligation as Educators is an explicit commitment to “advocate in the interest of children, families, early childhood educators and the early years sector” (College of Early Childhood Educators, Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, p.15). Informed voting is a distinctive and impactful form of advocacy.
3. Finally (and arguably most importantly), VOTE!!!
The election is Monday, October 21st. Polls are open from 9:30 am to 9:30 pm.
Your polling station will be indicated on your aforementioned voter information card, which you will receive by mail. Polling station addresses will also be available on the Elections Canada website after September 24th.
“By law, everyone who is eligible to vote must have three consecutive hours to cast their vote on election day. If your hours of work do not allow for three consecutive hours to vote, your employer must give you time off
For example, if you live in a riding where voting hours are 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and you usually work from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., your hours of work will not allow three consecutive hours for voting. To give you three consecutive hours to vote, your employer could allow you to arrive late (at 12:30 p.m.), let you leave early (at 6:30 p.m.), or give you three hours off at some point during the work day.
Your employer has the right to decide when the time off will be given” (Elections Canada, 2019).
Unable to vote in person on the 21st? There are several other means by which you can cast your vote, such as advanced polls, special ballot processes or by mail.
Learn more about all the ways you can vote HERE.
Given some of the decisions that have been made at the provincial level, effectively backing away from the funding and support of child care services, federal leadership that is committed to making our child care system better is vitally important.
Voting is more than just your democratic right, it is a RESPONSIBILITY and a PRIVILEGE. Exercise it! It demonstrates commitment to ourselves, to our profession, to each other, and to this country.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
– Dr. Seuss
Make sure you’re connected and following @striveswo on social media as we will be updating election news as it rolls in.