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History of the College

The College officially opened in September 2008. For more than 20 years previous to that, organizations working in early learning and care lobbied the Government of Ontario to get legislative recognition for early childhood educators (ECEs).

In May 2007 the Ontario government passed the Early Childhood Educators Act, 2007. This law established the College of Early Childhood Educators (the College). The Act includes:

  • A definition of what constitutes the practice of the profession.
  • A requirement for persons to be members in order to practise the profession.
  • Title protection authorizing only members of the College to use the titles “early childhood educator” or “registered early childhood educator” or an abbreviation.
  • Roles and responsibilities of the Registrar along with the Registration Appeals, Complaints, Discipline and Fitness to Practise Committees.

The College began to accept applications for membership in September 2008. Over 20,000 applications for membership were received within the first six months.


On February 14, 2009 when the Act was fully proclaimed, the Transitional Council handed over a fully funded and functioning College to the first-elected Council.

The College conducts elections to elect RECEs to the College Council. Participation in the election of the College Council is an important opportunity available to members of the College. RECEs may participate either as a candidate for election to Council or as a member who will cast a vote for a candidate.

Subsequent elections of the Council were held in 2011 and 2013. Beginning in 2013, elections were staggered so that not all Council members are elected in all of the College’s eight electoral districts at one time.

In 2020, College Council made the commitment to embed anti-racism in all of our work.


From the first membership application in September 2008, the College has seen exponential growth in membership. The College issued its 45,000th Certificate of Registration in August 2013.

In 2010, the College undertook the direct handling of applications from Canadian-trained applicants who required an individual assessment of their educational qualifications. The College also expanded their application process to include those from internationally-trained applicants who required an individual assessment of their educational qualifications in all languages.

Membership data for fiscal year 2017-2018

Membership data for fiscal year 2018-2019

Membership data for fiscal year 2019-2020

Membership data for fiscal year 2020-2021

Membership data for fiscal year 2021-2022

Membership data for fiscal year 2022-2023

Professional practice 

​​​2009 Complaints and Discipline processes were established.

Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, which communicates the scope and nature of the early childhood education profession, came into effect in February 2011.

Held the first disciplinary hearing in November.


Began issuing Wall Certificates of Registration to members. These certificates can be displayed in an RECE’s place of work, informing employers and parents alike that children are in the care of qualified professionals.

Published first Professional Advisory on the use of the titles “early childhood educator (ECE)” or “registered early childhood educator (RECE)”.


The College asked the Ontario government to enact a regulation made under the authority of the Early Childhood Educators Act, 2007 requiring all of its members to engage in a Continuous Professional Learning (CPL) program.

In August, the College made a submission to the Ministry of Education, Early Learning Division, on the five-year review of the Early Childhood Educators Act, 2007. The College addressed some issues in its submission to the Ministry of Education which improve the College’s ability to protect the public interest, and some of which improve the operational capability of the College to fulfill its objects.

Held first symposium focused on leadership in early childhood education in September. This event launched the College’s Leadership Pilot Project, which saw 25 Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs) and six RECE mentors take part in a nine-month learning program designed to enhance their leadership capacity.

Informing members and the public

The College’s publication, Member Newsletter, was first published in 2009. In 2013, the College’s members voted to re-name its publication Connexions.

One of the College’s important accomplishments was the launch of its public register in March 2010, which makes it possible for members of the public to verify an RECE’s registration status. The College held its first Annual Meeting in May 2010.

This brief history reflects the College’s commitment to continual improvement in the regulation of Ontario’s early childhood education profession in the public interest.