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April 29, 2021
Across the province workers in the child care sector and their allies have advocated for recognition, safety, and justice during these extraordinary times. Most recently, they have demanded priority vaccination for all child care workers.
The news today from the Government of Ontario inviting child care workers to sign up for vaccinations beginning today is a cause for celebration for many. This is a result of the collective action of many individuals involved in making this ask a reality for the child care work force. Your actions got child care staff into Ontario’s Phase 2 vaccination rollout. Then, your actions guaranteed child care staff would be prioritized for vaccination in our city, as they should be. Now, those actions have translated into widespread priority vaccination for child care staff across Ontario.
However, many providers are still being left behind – and you have the power to change this.
By excluding independent (unlicensed) home child care workers – which likely care for around two-thirds of our city’s children, by the City of Ottawa’s own estimates – the province continues to put essential frontline workers at risk. The patchwork of child care is hard to comprehend, and we don’t need further divisions. Whether licensed, or not, everyone working with children should be a priority
Doug Ford knows child care is essential for the province to remain fully operational – which is why it has remained open even during strict lockdowns. He acknowledges the new variants of COVID-19 are spreading to children more than the original variant, that child care outbreaks are increasing, and that we work with unmasked kids all day. His government demands “flexibility” and “choice” in child care, while abandoning huge sections of the work force.
The Ontario government is – again – being willfully negligent by not vaccinating all child care staff in the province. Dr. Vera Etches and Ottawa Public Health are, by not challenging the provincial rollout when they have the power to do so, contributing to this negligence.
Child care staff and parents across Ontario are fed up with how they’ve been treated by all levels of government during this pandemic and are no longer going to allow half steps to be taken.
You can be part of holding them accountable and forcing change, which you’ve done very effectively this year. More than ever, our child care programs and communities need to be highly organized to fight for safety, justice, and real change in our city’s, our province’s, and our country’s child care system.
If you want to connect with child care organizers – at your workplace, in your neighbourhood, in your riding – please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Organizing” in the subject line.
Child Care Now (Ottawa) CUPE 2204 – Child Care Workers of Eastern Ontario
For a bilingual PDF copy of the statement to share in your networks, please download the version below