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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 former 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.


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. 


Communications, Marketing and Publications Manager

Claire McLaughlin

Improve the life of a child and you change the world. This is why I work in the field of child care. I began this journey as a teenager working at Andrew Fleck Child Care in Ottawa in a program that served underprivileged children from poor living conditions — and giving them a chance to experience summer camp in the country and swim in a lake.

Without this program and the daily school bus driving them to the Gatineau Hills each day, many of these children would never experience swimming in a lake, exploring the forests and swinging from trees in such a natural setting. I saw children transform over a couple of months, inspired, active and touched by nature.  And I saw my role in making a positive difference in their lives. 

Since then I expanded this passion through writing, and becoming a journalist in Ottawa. I wrote human interest stories for a daily newspaper, always wanting to give a voice to those who didn’t — the poor, the invisible, the left out.  I later focused my efforts working overseas in international development, forever wanting to impact the lives of people the world over, who have not been dealt fair cards. 

Today I advocate for children and families through storytelling, communications, media and government relations. I serve those who work for children in child care, to help them raise their voice in their profession and to access the information, best practices, mentorship and supports they need to do their best with children. I have two teenagers and a husband living in Ottawa. Like a mother’s work, the care for children is never done.

Claire has been with the CCCF since 2008.

When I was 6 I wanted to be a
school teacher. I also thought it took 7 years to digest gum.
When I was six I told my
parents I was going to be a princess. I was disappointed to find out I had to be born one or marry a prince.
Innovator of Projects, Programs and Partnerships

Robin (Kealey) McMillan

I always knew I would work with and for young children. I appreciated their honest emotions, sense of optimism, wonder and curiosity. After I finished university and college I worked in centre-based, front line child care environments. I worked with families with many challenges — those new to Canada, teen parents and many single parent families. Knowing I made a difference in the lives of children and those families meant the world to me. And it still does today.

After eight years, I wanted to expand my career and impact on young children. I returned to school looking for new opportunities both in and outside of the early learning and child care (ELCC) sector. 

I began as a volunteer at the Canadian Child Care Federation (CCCF) and was soon hired as a Project Assistant. CCCF was a great fit from the start. While new to an office setting, the work of making a difference in the lives of children and families was familiar and meaningful to me. My career with CCCF has lasted more than 20 years. I have spent the majority of my career at the Federation, growing professionally and personally. I started as a single professional at CCCF in 1999 and today I am a married mother still positively influencing the work of practitioners. Through developing partnerships, initiatives and resources, I support the workforce that strives to improve the quality of the lives of children in Canada. 

I’ve enjoyed learning about children’s rights from mentors such as the Honourable Landon Pearson. I’ve become competent in managing complicated international projects through learning from past CCCF leaders like Barb Coyle, Sandi Griffin, and Anne Maxwell. I enjoy forging new paths that support the early learning and child care sector with my present colleagues, Claire McLaughlin and Don Giesbrecht. My work at CCCF continues to be meaningful and provides me with insight, experiences and opportunities that I love. I have worked with  early learning environments as far north as Kuujjuaq and south to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Working at the Federation continues to fill me with pride. 

Robin has been with the CCCF since 1999 and is based in Ottawa.

This is where we'll put your quote Suzanne
Project Engagement Officer

Suzanne Schlechte

Growing up on the prairies, the oldest of five children, I was born into the role of caregiver. When I left the prairies and moved to British Columbia, I was a married mother with two girls and opening a family child care was a very natural choice for me. I wanted to excel at it and started searching for opportunities to learn more about early learning and child care. If you were around in 1992, you know that it was a little more challenging to find and access ECE courses, especially while still providing child care for 11  hours a day. The first conference I ever attended was titled “Learning and the Brain” and I heard Dr. Clyde Hertzman speak about brain development. If I had been passionate about child care before, I was now on fire. I began reading everything I could about early learning and enrolled in correspondence courses as well.

Finally, I was able to enroll in evening ECE classes in my city and I enjoyed being in a classroom with a group of like-minded ladies. Later, my quest for knowledge remained strong, but now I was no longer satisfied with just learning, I also wanted to share what I, myself knew. I started a small blog and joined a blogging network. I created a course about taking care of yourself as a child care provider and worked collaboratively on a book of children’s activities. I started collecting and sharing resources for other child care providers who were on a quest similar to mine so that they could more easily find the education they needed to learn and grow.

I had the opportunity to take Dr. Diane Kashin and Dr. Beverlie Dietze’s Outdoor Play Training Online course and really enjoyed the learning it provided. It was a privilege to be the online facilitator for the course when CCCF began hosting it. After several years of working with the CCCF on outdoor play and family child care projects, I joined the CCCF team as the Project Engagement Officer. I am excited to be working as part of this CCCF team to create a brighter future for Canadian children, families and early childhood care providers.

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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!