Licensed child care operators and school boards are accountable to various regulatory bodies such as the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Labour. This textbook will discuss the regulations and accountabilities directing the practice of Registered Early Childhood Educators, Child Care Practitioners, Dietary Planners, and Supervisors of licensed child care who may be working with children in early years settings or in school age programs in Ontario. Legislation is typically mandated provincially with some exceptions directed from the federal level of government. Regulations will vary from province to province. The focus of this textbook will be based on Ontario legislation with some specific regulations pertaining to Southwestern Ontario and surrounding regions.
Licensed child care in Ontario, Canada provides children and families with care and education for young children typically during working hours to allow parents to work, attend school, or receive respite care for their children. Licensed child care is regulated by the Child Care and Early Years Act (2014) under the Ministry of Education.
Children attending kindergarten in Ontario are participating in full day programs facilitated by an Ontario Certified Teacher (OCT) and a Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE). The Ontario Ministry of Education oversees the kindergarten program as well as grades 1 through 12 in the Ontario school system. The kindergarten program is unique in its pedagogical approach guided by The Kindergarten Program (2016) document.
Many regulations are directed by the Ministry of Health in order to maintain safe, healthy and nutritious environments for children and their families whether in licensed child care or in the school system in Ontario. Regulations are specific to the age groups involved and educators are required to implement the appropriate guidelines for health, safety, and nutrition for children in their care.
The Ministry of Labour oversees the health and safety of employees in licensed child care and school boards. Child Care Operators and School Boards are tasked with ensuring safe workplaces for employees to conduct their duties in spaces that support healthy and safe environments. Educators contribute to healthy and safe workplaces through specific obligations which will be outlined in this text to aid in understanding workers’ rights and obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (1990).