Board of directors: It takes a village to raise a child

A special thanks to all our valued board members

A recipient of the Ontario Premier’s Award for her work in the social services, she received the Hamilton Woman of Distinction Award for Education.

Marni Flaherty

Interim CEO

Marni Flaherty is the C.E.O. of Today’s Family Early Learning and Child Care, a child care agency serving 4,000 families in Hamilton, Burlington and Haldimand Norfolk and employing more than 300 caregivers, support staff and licensed home childcare providers.

Marni is a graduate of the ECE program at Mohawk College and a Registered Early Childhood Educator. She joined the agency in 1988 and became the CEO in 1995.

Marni is a recipient of the Ontario Premier’s Award for her work in the social services and received the Hamilton Woman of Distinction Award for Education. She is known provincially and nationally for her deep knowledge of, and passion for, early learning and child care.

Marni is an active participant in numerous community initiatives designed to improve the lives of children. Her many professional and voluntary community activities include: Board President of the Canadian Child Care Federation, Chair of the Parent and Children’s Charter Committee for the City of Hamilton, member of the Ontario Early Years Provincial Network, and member of the Quality Early Learning Network. As well, Flaherty is a board member of The Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton. former member of the Hamilton Best Start Network, board president of the Home Child Care Association of Ontario (HCCAO), board member of the United Way of Greater Burlington and Hamilton, Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton and McMaster Children’s Hospital Family Advisory Committee.

Marni lives in Hamilton with her husband and three children. Over more than 30 years, Flaherty has fashioned a remarkable career and a lasting legacy for families and children.


Taya Whitehead


Taya Whitehead has been an Early Childhood Educator for the past 20 years. She completed her initial ECE training in 1998 at Selkirk College in Castlegar, British Columbia. Following her ECE training, she completed a Diploma in Human Services, a BA in Child and Youth Care from the University of Victoria and a Master in Adult Education & Community Development from Athabasca University.

Her experience is broad, ranging from Group and Infant/Toddler Care to the Supported Child Development Program. Currently a Dean for the School of Health and Human Services at Selkirk College, Taya has been working in post-secondary for the past 12 years. She is the past-president of the Early Childhood Educators of British Columbia and volunteers her time in a variety of other capacities locally and provincially.

Taya is a wife and mother of three children, she lives in the rural Kootenay region of British Columbia. She feels that we are at a pivotal point in history where there is opportunity to make great strides in advancing our sector. Taya is a passionate, “big picture” thinker that commits herself wholly to projects that she is involved in.


Christie Scarlett


Christie Scarlett officially began her career in Early Childhood over 25 years ago. She has received her Early Childhood training and on-going learning through Mount Royal University as well as MacEwan University.

Her passion for children’s advocacy and leadership for ECE Practitioners continues as she is in her 6th year of volunteering as a board director/treasurer for the Canadian Child Care Federation and approaching her 2nd year volunteering as a board director on the Association of Early Childhood Educators of Alberta. She has been honoured to work alongside children and families in a variety of capacities as well as serve on several community initiatives and local association groups.

For the past year, Christie has been striving to strengthen the standard for ECE and School Age training by providing professional development opportunities and empowering Early childhood educators and agencies to advocate for their profession by connecting with the ECE community.

As much as Christie is actively involved in the Early Childhood community in Alberta, she enjoys nothing more than spending time with her 2 beautiful daughters and husband where they are engaged in their community, schooling, activities, and own child care arrangements.


When I worked with kids, I
always asked them if their new
running shoes made them faster.
Of course, the answer
was always yes.
Currently On LEAVE AS CEO

Don Giesbrecht

I started my career in Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) by chance, not design. I graduated from the University of Manitoba with full intentions of becoming a police officer. Thanks to my wife and her friend who worked in ELCC, I landed a job as a substitute child care staff in an inner-city child care program at The Salvation Army Weston Child Care in Winnipeg. This was my first time ever setting foot in a child care program anywhere. I needed a job while I waited to be selected to what I hoped would be a career in the police force.  That fall I was disheartened to learn that though I had made it to final selection interviews, did not make the final cut for the police force. As a 20-something, I reluctantly decided to take an interim job in child care since I now had the experience and it was one of the few sectors hiring in the early 1990’s. Yes, my career in ELCC started out of necessity, not passion. 

I applied to what was then Lord Roberts Preschool, in Winnipeg, and was hired on a three-month term as an ECE II, which turned into a full-time job, and lead to a promotion to Staff Supervisor, and finally landed me as the Executive Director there. Along the way, I upgraded my ECE classification though the Province of Manitoba’s Competency Based Assessment (CBA) program and through the University of Manitoba, earned a diploma in non-profit management. Throughout these early years in career advancement I grew to understand the power and value of early childhood education and care for children and families. My appreciation for the profession grew exponentially. More importantly, I evolved to see that we—society—needed to do so much better for children and how much quality is so intrinsically tied into a quality ELCC workforce. 


April Kalyniuk


April Kalyniuk is the Executive Director at Lord Roberts Children’s Programs a multi-site program located in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Graduating in 1980 from Red River College April has been active in the ECE field since that time.

April has served as the Chair of the CCCF and recently completed a second term as President of the Manitoba Child Care Association.

April was a founding member of the MCCA’s Ethics committee and was a active participant in the CCCF roll out of the National Code of Ethics for ECE’s that many of the CCCF members use in daily practice now.  Currently, April sits on the MCCA Board of Directors as the chair of the Public Policy and Professionalism Committee and is excited to return to the Board of the CCCF.


Cathy Ramos


Cathy has been working with children and families for more than 20 years. She has a Bachelor’s of Arts degree and both a undergraduate and master’s degree in Child and Youth Study from Mount Saint Vincent University. In her current employment role, she works to support regulated child care programs in Nova Scotia.

Her work experience in this amazing field of early learning has included working with all ages of children including children with diverse needs. She has worked as a front line early childhood educator and in administration as an Assistant Director; Program Coordinator and Centre Director with a lab school for the Nova Scotia College of Early Childhood Education. This organization has also supported Cathy as she worked previously as part-time faculty in the classroom and as a practicum supervisor working with students in their field placements. Currently, Cathy is an Early Childhood Development Consultant for the NS Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. Her role includes supporting regulated child care programs in and around Halifax. This consultant support allows opportunities to work with Centre Directors, Early Childhood Educators and Families, with a variety of aspects of programming at their centres. There are also many opportunities to be a community collaborator with others sectors working with young children and this may include professional development for ECEs such as inclusion supports and child abuse training as well as PD for programs learning about The Pyramid model for Social Emotional Development as she is a trained Mastre Cadre.

Recently, Cathy has returned to teaching early learning at NSCECE using an online platform and allowing for different opportunities for supporting students of whom many are also practicing Early Childhood Educators.

Being very committed to supporting our sector, Cathy has served on volunteer boards in the past (Association of Early Childhood Educators of NS and The Non-Profit Directors Association of NS). In November of 2015, Cathy was elected to the board of the Canadian Child Care Federation where she currently continues to serve in her second term. This has been an amazing opportunity to learn about child care across our beautiful country and to meet and work with Early Childhood Educators and Friends who share a passion and commitment to supporting our youngest citizens.

Cathy and her husband, Reg, live in Halifax with their two sons Daniel and Diego.

Cathy is a true advocate for children and families and is committed to working towards ensuring that children and families have access to quality, affordable and accessible childcare. She is also very passionate about professional development and believes that lifelong learning and exploring interests and passions is the key to staying current and excited about working in the child care sector.



Angie Stevenson


After working over 25 years “on the floor” as an ECE, Charlene has expanded her Leadership and Advocacy roles in the Province of BC. . She served 9 years on the Board of Directors of ECEBC, became an Ethical Journey Guide and was an original member of the $10 a Day Advisory Committee.

She has been a member of the Saskatchewan Early Childhood Association board since 2008 and the Chairperson since 2014. She is also the Chairperson of the North East Daycare Director’s Co-operative and a member of the CCCF’s Saskatchewan Early Learning Leader’s Caucus.

Angie is proud to be a member of the CCCF board, working towards ELCC policy change with the federal government, knowing that it will impact policy and programs at the provincial level in Saskatchewan and across Canada.–building strength, capacity and quality for all children.



Charlene Gray


After working over 25 years “on the floor” as an ECE, Charlene has expanded her Leadership and Advocacy roles in the Province of BC. She served 9 years on the Board of Directors of ECEBC, became an Ethical Journey Guide and was an original member of the $10 a Day Advisory Committee.

She is also a member of the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC and sits on the Leadership Team  of the Comox Valley Early Years Collaborative. Currently Charlene is a member of the BC Provincial Child Care Council. In all of her work, Charlene is mindful to ensure that changes made at the policy level positively influence the day to day lives of children, families and educators in the field. Charlene’s joy in life is her family including her 5 beautiful grandchildren and her passion outside of the field is nature photography.



Lea Blust


Lea Blust stumbled into the field of Early Childhood Education more than 12 years ago and found her passion!

After working in a variety of roles supporting young children’s play, development and resilience, she now focuses her efforts on advocacy for children and the field of ELCC, as well as teaching new ECE’s in post-secondary programs. She is passionate about ensuring that the rights of children are at the forefront of all decisions we make about them, and brings this voice to her work with the Alberta Early Childhood Leader’s Caucus and AECEA. Lea also loves colours, crafting, nature and her family.



Mandy MacNevin-Reynolds


Mandy has been a front line early childhood educator for just over 20 years. She graduated with her diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education from Holland College in 2000 after discovering her passion for working with children and families in high school. Since then she has worked various front line positions from kindergarten educator to inclusion support. Her passion lies in working with infants and young toddlers. She currently works at Milestones Early Years Centre.

During the course of her career Mandy has many opportunities to grow, learn and foster her work as well as support the sector and fellow educators from a variety of experiences that took her outside of the work she does at her centre daily. In 2010 she was part of the team that created the Infant Care Profile as part of the Canadian Occupational Standards for Early Childhood Educators.  This experience furthered her drive to recognize the important work that front line infant care ECEs do.

Her passion to learn more about infant mental health and well being led her to become a certified Handle with Care facilitator in 2017. This exceptional program has allowed her to connect with families and educators from many different walks of life, who all have the same goal; to help support the healthy growth and development of the mental health of children from birth to age 6.

From 2014 to 2020 Mandy served on the Early Childhood Development Association Board of Directors.  She believes her time there has given her some of the tools needed to help better serve the Early Years Sector as a whole. Being a voice for educators, children and families in her province has helped her gain deeper knowledge of the challenges the early years sector is facing, as well as helping to create opportunities for the sector to grow.

Mandy lives in Charlottetown with her husband Alex and their two cats. She is an avid crafter, who also likes to take pictures in her spare time



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Supporter membership rate $45 CAD. Join now!

Annual Membership rate $0 CAD with the code from your local affiliate. Join now!

Anyone working in licensed child care has to apply for certification. You will find certification information for your province or territory on our child care certification page.

With your resume and cover letter ready (we’ll provide guides for this soon), contact child care centres and introduce yourself! You can call, email, or even message them on social media. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a reply. Try again a few days later to give them your resume in person. Remember that due to safety reasons you need to call first. Tell them you live in their area, and that you’re looking for a position.

On our provincial and territorial map we link to child care associations in your area. Follow the link to your association and join today. The associations provide valuable information to anyone starting out in their career. Even experienced ECEs can benefit. You’ll also enjoy valuable member benefits like discounts, meet other ECEs, and become a part of the child care movement in Canada.

If you join your provincial or territorial affiliate, you’re automatically also a member of the CCCF.

All licensed and regulated quality child care programs in Canada require these for the safety and security of children and families.

If you’re just starting out:

  1. Get certified!
  2. Find the requirements for your province or territory
  3. Write your resume and begin your job search. We’ll provide tips on this soon. 
  4. Get your vulnerable sector check and first aid training

Join our Facebook Group and meet other ECEs who may be able to answer your questions

Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) are incredible professionals that have rewarding, important and demanding careers. They work with young children (and their families), ages 0-12, nurturing and educating them, observing and planning for their growth and development while ensuring that they are healthy. They create interactive and dynamic learning environments where children develop social skills, develop cognitive skills and foster lifelong learning. ECEs work in child care centres, classrooms, home child cares, preschool, and parent drop-in programs. You do not need a teaching degree to be an ECE, but you do need your ECE diploma.

Annual Membership rate $90 CAD.
Join now!

Annual Membership rate $65 CAD.
Join now!

Annual Membership rate $65 CAD.
Join now!