by The Strive Team
The 2021 Federal Election is officially underway and Child Care is finally being recognized as a ballot box issue! This is an opportunity to raise our collective voices and make accessible, affordable Child Care, and fair compensation and decent work for Child Care Professionals a reality!
As Early Learning Professionals, we know the impact of the conditions we create in our playrooms on the development and well-being of the children and families we support. Yet, the political workings and contexts that ultimately drive and dictate those conditions are not always clear or straight forward. This can lead to reluctance to see ourselves as active, valued participants in the political systems that govern our sector. This can’t continue! We are passionate, dedicated professionals who can affect positive change for Child Care in Canada! It’s time to make a difference at the federal level!
“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!
“Do not wait for someone to come and speak for you. It’s you who can change the world.”
~ Malala Yousafzai
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 September 10th.
Know where YOU stand. Reflect on what is important to you as a professional and as a citizen. Then, find out where the candidates stand. Ultimately, your vote should go to a candidate/party that aligns with your values and priorities.
Below are links to each to party’s website & platform, this is where you can find their position on key issues:
Here are the available official platforms for each party:
Green Party Platform (Their position on childcare is outlined on p.62)
Conservative Party Platform (their position on childcare is outlined on p.24)
NDP Platform (Their position on childcare is outlined on p.29)
People’s Party of Canada (Does not include childcare in their platform)
Learn more about the candidates in your local riding HERE.
Unsure of your riding? No problem, 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.
And, finally (and arguably most importantly), VOTE!!!
The election is Monday, September 20th. 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 have not yet been made available on the Elections Canada website.
“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 20st? 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 and to each other.
“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!