How the College came to be
For more than 20 years, organizations working in early learning and care lobbied the Government of Ontario to get legislative recognition for early childhood educators (ECEs). A group that included the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario (AECEO), l’Association francophone à l'éducation des services à l'enfance de l’Ontario (Aféseo), Canadian Mothercraft Society, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Home Child Care Association of Ontario (HCCAO), and ECE Coordinators for Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology (OCAAT), among others, believed that the profession of early childhood education should be recognized by law, similar to professions like teaching, nursing, medicine, dentistry and social work.
In the mid-1990s, these groups formed a ‘Working Committee for Legislative Recognition of Early Childhood Educators’ and made recommendations to the provincial government for self-regulation of the profession. Self-regulation of a profession means that that the regulatory body sets entry to practise requirements to become members of the College. It also means that measures are put in place so that only those who meet the qualifications and requirements are legally permitted to practise the profession.
Finally, in 2007, the Government of Ontario passed a piece of legislation called the Early Childhood Educators Act, 2007. This law established the College of Early Childhood Educators (the College), which so many groups had fought long and hard for. A transitional Council was formed, with nine people appointed by the government to do the work necessary to set up the College and begin to register ECEs as members.