Employment Requirements and Levels of Education for Early Childhood Educators and Assistants and Home Child Care Providers

The quality of the early childhood programs is largely dependent on the staff who implement the programs and the most crucial factors affecting this quality is the caregiver’s education, qualifications and training and experience.

To be hired as an ECE or ECEA in Ontario, a professional license from the College of Early Childhood Educators is required. They are employed in child-care centres, daycare centres, kindergartens, agencies for exceptional children and other settings where early childhood education services are provided. Using the December 2022 to November 2023 Job Posting Data (See Appendix A, Table A1), the top five sectors that had high demand for ECEAs in Toronto were Child Day-Care Services, Employment Placement Agencies and Executive Search Services, Civic and Social Organizations, Human Resources Consulting Services and All Other Schools and Instruction.

Educational requirements to work in regulated daycares vary by province. For example, in Ontario child care centres, one-third of the staff responsible for an infant group or a toddler group must have a two-year early childhood education (ECE) diploma and two-thirds of staff with a preschool-age group must have a two-year ECE diploma.  According to the Government of Canada website and based on the 2021 National Occupational Classification (NOC) an employer typically demands the completion of a two- to four-year college program in early childhood education or a bachelor’s degree in child development. ECEAs can be required to have some experience in child care, complete secondary school or have attained a childhood education assistant certificate program or post-secondary courses in early childhood education.

Typically, a Home Child Care Provider must have completed high school or its equivalency and training programs in child care or a related field. Child care or household management experience may be required. Home Agencies may also require Home Child Care Providers to have first aid certifications and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training.


Table 6: Highest Levels of Education of Child Care Workers Compared to All Other Workers, Toronto CMA, Census 2021

Early Childhood Educators & Assistants Home Child Care Providers Total, Child Care Workers All Other Workers
No certificate, diploma, or degree 2% 5% 3% 4%
Secondary (high) school diploma and equivalency certificate 10% 28% 15% 16%
Apprenticeship or trades certificate or diploma 2% 4% 2% 3%
College or other non-university certificate or diploma 52% 22% 43% 18%
University certificate or diploma below bachelor level 4% 8% 5% 3%
University certificate, diploma or degree at bachelor level or above 30% 33% 31% 55%

Source: Census 2021


Table 6 above reports the Census 2021 statistics for the highest level of education attained by child care workers and all other workers in Toronto CMA.  According to Census 2021, 51% of child care workers in Toronto CMA had a postsecondary education[ix]. However, there were differences among the two groups of child care workers. ECEAs (58%) were more likely to have an education level above a high school diploma compared with HCCPs (34%).  During the Census 2021 period in Toronto, CMA, the highest level of educational attainment for all other workers appeared to be Bachelor’s degree or higher (55%). Since most landed immigrants are likely to reside in Toronto CMA, a good share of ECEs and ECAs (30%) and HCCPs (33%) happen to have a Bachelor’s degree or higher making them overqualified for this role.

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