The Child Care Industry Workforce: Discussing the Key Occupations
Child care workers are an integral part of the child care ecosystem. This section summarizes the key occupations that make up the child care workforce in the country. In regulated child care settings, workers who have the most direct role in child care provision are the frontline Early Childhood Educators and Assistants, Centre Directors and licensed Home Child Care Providers. They work with children and families on a daily basis. This paper used the 2021 National Occupational Classification (NOC) to look at two broad groups of child care workers: Early Childhood Educators and Assistants (ECEAs) and Home Child Care Providers (HCCPs).
Early Childhood Educators and Assistants
Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) or Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs) and Early Childhood Educator Assistants (ECEAs) are trained professionals who specialize in the early development and learning of children between the ages of infancy and 12 years. ECEAs provide care for children under the guidance of ECEs.
To become a RECE, an individual must be registered with the College of Early Childhood Educators that regulates Ontario’s profession of early childhood education in the public’s interest. The College helps protect children and families by setting registration requirements, ethical and professional standards for ECEs, and governing member conduct through a complaints and discipline process.
Only members of the College can use the title “Early Childhood Educator” (ECE) and “Registered Early Childhood Educator” (RECE) and only individuals who have met the registration requirements of the College and hold a Certificate of Registration in good standing may practise the profession of early childhood education.
The majority of Early Childhood Educators are employed in child day-care services and elementary schools. According to Job Bank Canada, they mainly work in sectors like the Social assistance (78%) and Elementary and secondary schools (16%).
The category of RECEs also includes the following roles:
- Child Care Supervisors: In addition to having the role and duties of a RECE, supervisors play a leadership role in licensed child care centres, overseeing the different child care programs in the centre and the staff employed.
- Resource Consultants: They are typically RECEs, who have specialized training and/or qualifications in providing individualized supports for children with special needs. They support staff and parents in working with children with special needs who attend licensed child care.
- Home Child Care Providers: Home Child Care Providers supervise and care for children primarily in their own homes or in the children’s homes, where they may also reside. They are employed by private households, child-care agencies, or they may be self-employed.
- Home Visitors: Home Visitors work for licensed Home Child Care Agencies to screen and monitor licensed Home Child Care Providers. They must be either a member in good standing of the College of Early Childhood Educators, with at least two years of experience working with children or approved by a director, who is an employee of the Ministry of Education. They also help families find a Home Child Care Provider who meets their needs. They support the Home Child Care Provider in designing programs, planning nutritious meals, and ensuring health, safety and development standards are met.
- Other program staff working directly with children: This category includes individuals who work with children and families in licensed child care but are not registered members of the College of Early Childhood Educators. Titles in this role can include child care worker, daycare worker, family support worker, and child care assistant. In addition, program staff can include program assistants or enhanced staff who work with children with special needs.
Using Jobs TO data, the report found that between December 2022 and November 2023, there were a total of 1,646 active job postings (See Appendix A, Table A1) made by the Child Day-care Services industry in Toronto. Based on these job posting numbers, apart from the ECEAs, employers in the child care industry also advertises job postings for other occupations like Cooks, Food Counter Attendants, Kitchen Helpers, and Related Support Occupations and, Social and Community Service Workers. There was a total of 1,276 active job postings for the ECEAs position and 400 for the role of HCCP during the same period. While the average posting duration for ECEAs was 25 days, it was significantly higher at 71 days for the Home Child Care Providers. Appendix A (Figure A1, A2 and A3) represents the 12-month trend in active job postings and trend in the number of companies hiring for the two occupations ECEAs, Home Child Care Providers and the overall industry Child Day-Care Services in Toronto.