ETFO campaign for ECE a conflict of interest?

Whether the acronym is ECE, which stands for “Early Childhood Educator” or ELE “Early Learning Educator,” those individuals who are trained to teach children under the age of five are going to be the glue that holds the new Ontario early learning program (ELP) or full-day JK/SK program together.

So, it is interesting that up until the ELP was approved by the Ontario McGuinty government, ETFO went out of its way to  suggest that only teachers with elementary qualifications (ETFO’s current member group) should be in charge of the full-day JK/SK in order to facilitate the transition to regular school. 

In fact, that was the rationale  the government gave when it announced that its new full day ELP would be staff by “qualified” teachers all day long, with ECE qualified individuals providing back-up for part of the day — but always under the jurisdiction of the teacher.

So, it is puzzling now that ETFO has mounted a serious campaign to suggest they would be the best union to represent ECE staff, particularly since CUPE currently covers most, if not all, public sector childcare workers. 

In other words, I have major concerns about the same union representing both qualified elementary school teachers and ECE staff. I mean, clearly when push comes to shove, would not ETFO favour its first priority and mandate, and that is the interests of elementary school teachers? If so, there is the potential for a serious conflict of interest for those who are early childhood specialists.

Surely something for those with ECE qualifications to think about.


11 thoughts on “ETFO campaign for ECE a conflict of interest?

  1. That is puzzling Sandy because OECTA wrote a letter to their members reporting on that union’s efforts to be the sole representative of the ECEs. I blogged on this at School For Thought a while back. I predicted a quiet little battle of the unions over the ECEs.

    This is the big elephant in the room for this program. How long before ECEs will be required to have a teaching certificate? The costs of all-day K are already exploding and it hasn’t even begun yet.


  2. Sounds like union control and McGuinty wants to insure that socialists control the process. I’ve always said that the primary purpose of education is political indoctrination.


  3. The ECE workers will be free to vote on who will represent them including CUPE, ETFO OSSTF and others. OSSTF lready represents a large number of ECE workers.


  4. As I suspected Doug. The reality is though there is always the danger than when there is a conflict between the teachers and the ECE workers, the latter will be second class citizens. That said, at least OSSTF would have a direct conflict of interest since they represent high school teachers. The real conflict is with ETFO or OECTF (because they represent both panels). A bit of empire building going on here. I had no idea that OSSTF and CUPE were already competitive in this area. Interesting.


  5. Sandy,, here’s is something found in the NP

    The disgrace of the OTF

    National Post · Friday, Jun. 11, 2010

    The Ontario education system is in the throes of a bullying crisis. Menacing letters have been sent to school administrators. Threats have been made against students. The culprits? Not Grade 4 kids horsing around in the locker room, but the leaders of the Ontario Teachers Federation (OTF).

    The controversy stems from a decision by Nipissing University in North Bay, Ont., to confer an honorary Doctor of Letters on former Ontario premier Mike Harris, who studied at North Bay Teachers’ College, the precursor to Nipissing’s Schulich School of Education. The OTF is threatening not only to demonstrate at the university’s convocation ceremony, but potentially to deny its graduates student teaching placements, unless the school rescinds its honour to Mr. Harris.

    Read on:


  6. Jen — That is just disgusting. Bullying is right and the OTF likes to call its officials professionals. Tells you something doesn’t it that they don’t get angry at the Dalton McGuinty government. It tells us that is because they get just about everything they ask for. Why did OTF not disagree with honorary doctorates received by Bob Rae I wonder? He caused even more mayhem in the system.

    Anyway, thanks Jen. I had a post up about the announcement but haven’t had time to follow the whole story. The truth is the unions can’t deny teaching placements per se but they can warn classroom teachers not to take any, which has the same outcomes. They can also deny new teacher graduates the ability to join a union which means they can’t get jobs.

    Mike Harris was one of the best premiers Ontario ever had but from the word go he was controversial. In fact, many many things have been blamed on him that had nothing to do with him. There used to be joke that if the weather was bad it was Harris’ fault.


  7. Each union has a Letter Patent and a constitution. OSSTF amended theirs in the mid 1990’s to call for OSSTF to organize all education workers public and private. Until lately the other teachers unions have resisted this trend. Now they don’t want OSSTF (or CUPE) to represent ECEs. Try this one, ETFO is lobbying the government to legislate that public ECEs must be in ETFO and catholic ECEs must be in OECTA. OECTA tried to change their constitution at their AGM so that they could organize non-teachers. The vote was over 60% yes but it takes 90% in OECTA to amend the constitution. Confusing? Me to!!!


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