Among the working poor, child care workers tell McGuinty government to meet $78 million in outstanding pay equity obligations

    TORONTO, Oct. 24 /CNW Telbec/ - If the Ontario Liberal government is
serious about a poverty reduction strategy, meeting legislated pay equity
obligations for low-paid child care professionals to boost salaries should be
a priority, say child care advocates on Child Care Worker and Early Childhood
Educator Appreciation Day.
    January 2008 marks the 20th anniversary of the Pay Equity law in Ontario.
The Ontario government currently owes $78 million from 2006-2007 and will owe
a further $467.9 million from 2008-2011 to over 100,000 women working in
predominantly female workplaces such as child care centres that use the proxy
comparison method for pay equity. Despite having a two-year college diploma,
on average, child care educators, who are by-and-large women, make on average
of $23,000 a year.
    "Many child care workers and early childhood educators live in poverty
because this government has failed to live up to its commitment to fund pay
equity. If the McGuinty Liberals are serious about reducing poverty, meeting
their legislated pay equity obligations is a good start. That would go a long
way to addressing the low wages that keep child care educators and their
children poor," said Fred Hahn, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
Ontario secretary-treasurer.
    "Regardless of their occupation or education, most Ontario women continue
to be paid less than men because they do women's work. Women on average still
earn only 71% of what men earn-leaving a 29% pay gap. This is the best
evidence that pay equity in Ontario is far from being achieved nor has it been
maintained as the Act requires," said Mary Cornish, lawyer and Chair of the
Equal Pay Coalition.
    October 24 is Child Care Worker and Early Childhood Appreciation Day in
Ontario. Now in its sixth year, the day of appreciation recognizing the
importance of the work of child care workers and early childhood educators was
founded by CUPE Ontario and the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care
    One hundred and eighty-four municipalities across the province, including
Toronto City Council, proclaimed the day this year. Sponsors include CUPE, the
United Steelworkers, OPSEU, CAW, the elementary and secondary teachers'
federations, the Ontario Federation of Labour, and NUPGE.
    "Early childhood educators play a key role in child development and a key
role in our economy. We will continue to work with our coalition partners to
pressure all three levels of government to expand public, not-for-profit child
care services and recognize these trained and qualified women workers as
professionals," said Elizabeth Ablett, Executive Director, OCBCC.
    This year's celebrations come just two weeks after provincial elections.
The OCBCC and CUPE see this as an opportunity for the community and candidates
to show their appreciation for the important role child care plays in the
lives and well-being of all children.

For further information:

For further information: Elizabeth Ablett, Executive Director, OCBCC,
(416) 538-0628 Ext. 3, cell: (647) 291-7557; Irene Harris,
Secretary-Treasurer, OFL, (416) 347-0454; Fred Hahn, CUPE Ontario
Secretary-Treasurer, (416) 540-3979; Mary Cornish, Cavalluzzo Hayes Shilton
McIntyre & Cornish, (416) 964-5524

Organization Profile

Canadian Union of Public Employees - Ontario Regional Office

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Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care

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