The 2022 Ontario Provincial Election is officially underway. Despite the recent signing of the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care agreement, affordable and accessible care, fair compensation, and decent work remain imperative ballot box issues in this province.
Ontario’s Early Years Professionals have an important opportunity
to raise our collective voices and make all of this a reality!
As Early Years Professionals, we know all to well how the conditions in our playrooms and workspaces impact the development and well-being of the children and families we support, as well as ourselves and our colleagues. 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 Ontario!
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 the Ontario childcare system better than those who live it every day!
You belong in this process!
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 at the polls on June 2.
First things first;
Check your eligibility to vote/registration status.
You can confirm your registration and/or update your information HERE.
You have until May 23rd to add or update your voter information ensuring you receive a voter information card in the mail for the June 2 election.
Second, know where YOU stand on the issues. Reflect on what is important to you as a working professional and as an Ontarian. Then, find out where the candidates stand. Ultimately, your vote should go to a candidate/party that best aligns with your values and priorities.
The following are links to party websites & platforms, this is where you can find their position on key issues:
- Ontario Liberal Party, here is the direct link to their position on Child Care.
- Green Party of Ontario, does not specifically mention Child Care or Early Childhood Education as part of their platform.
- Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, does not specifically mention Child Care or Early Childhood Education as part of their platform, but the Action Plan for implementing the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) system, released prior to the election, can be found here.
- Ontario NDP, here is the direct link to their position on Child Care.
Learn more about the candidates in your local riding HERE.
Unsure of your riding? No problem, use this tool!
And, finally (and arguably most importantly), get out and VOTE!!!
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” (p.15).
Informed voting is a distinctive and impactful form of advocacy.
The Ontario Provincial election is Thursday, June 2nd and polls will be open from 9 AM to 9 PM (Eastern Standard Time).
Your polling station will be indicated on your aforementioned voter information card, which you will receive by mail. Polling station addresses will be available on the Elections Ontario Website as of May 9.
Know you voting rights!
The Ontario Election Act, Chapter E.6, 2021 states:
Every employee who is qualified to vote shall, while the polls are open on polling day of an election, have three consecutive hours for the purpose of voting and, if the hours of his or her employment do not allow for three consecutive hours, the employee may request that his or her employer allow such time for voting and the employer shall grant the request.
For example, if voting hours are 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 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 12:00 p.m.), let you leave early (at 6:00 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.
Any deductions from pay during this allocated time off are prohibited by law.
Unable to vote in person on the 2nd? 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.
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.
Do not wait for someone to come and speak for you. It’s you who can change the world.
~ Malala Yousafzai
Make sure you’re connected and following @striveswo on social media as we will be updating election news as it rolls in!