TORONTO – It is challenging to be a child care operator in Doug Ford’s Ontario. With no roadmap to solve the workforce crisis and zero financial transparency since the province signed on to the $10-a-day child care program, operators have been left running deficits. The announcement from one of Toronto’s largest child care providers that they plan to slash workers’ wages is an operator flailing about for a solution that will only make the problem worse.

The Ford government is months behind schedule on their planned release of the 2025 child care funding formula. Driven by this uncertainty, last week the Learning Enrichment Foundation (LEF) – which runs 25 child care centres in Toronto – announced plans to cut $2 an hour from 200 non-unionized child care workers.

“I believe LEF when they say they’re struggling because all child care centres that signed onto the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) program in Ontario are operating blind because the Ford government still hasn’t implemented a fair funding formula. But the solution can’t be to hurt workers, chase them from jobs they love, and disincentivize others from joining the sector,” said Carolyn Ferns, Public Policy Coordinator at the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care. “We’re short thousands of ECEs in this province just as waitlists to access care are ballooning. Cutting wages while food prices skyrocket is a recipe for disaster. Instead, educators, families, child care operators and unions need to come together and push the Ford government to do better.”

As operators sink further into the red with increasing rent and supply costs, the province has made short term funding available – but only for non-discretionary expenses. This has kept operators like LEF who claim they want to pay fair wages from accessing the funds. Unionized centres, meanwhile, have been able to use this money to meet obligations under collective agreements.

“Child care isn’t historically a heavily unionized space, but this proves it should be. We need to raise the floor for all child care workers because they are worth more,” said Jess Tomas, an early childhood educator and President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 2484 which represents more than 600 educators, assistants, cooks, and other child care workers across Toronto. “Child care is in crisis. That’s true for workers struggling to make ends meet, families who can’t get off waitlists, and operators who can’t find staff. Unions are the answer. We’ve won better working conditions that attract and keep more workers, which amount to better learning conditions for children. That’s my message to management at LEF. Invite us in. Let’s work together to protect this sector.”

LEF is a participant on the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario’s group dedicated to advancing good work in the sector. Giving their workers a voice will help LEF make good on this commitment.


For more information, contact:

Jesse Mintz, CUPE Communications
[email protected]