November 21, 2017
Carrie Lynne Poole-Cotnam, the chair of CUPE Ontario Social Services Sector, is this year’s winner of the Olivia Chow Child Care Champion Award which she accepted at the Ontario Federation of Labour’s 2017 Power ON convention, in Toronto.
In her role, Poole-Cotnam supports the work of the three-child care advocates on a Social Services Committee responsible for working with the Ontario Coalition for Better Childcare on many projects and initiatives. An example of their work happens every year on the annual “Childcare Worker Appreciation Day”, celebrated in dozens of municipalities across the province as councils pass resolutions year after year proclaiming the importance of public childcare, that rests on the shoulders of amazing childcare workers in cities and towns large and small.
Poole-Cotnam, whom her peers endorse as instrumental in building capacity throughout this entire sector of CUPE, became more active in the Ontario Coalition for Better Childcare many years ago, and currently serves on the Board of Directors as the Treasurer of the OCBCC. Working with academics, childcare activists, NGOs and government policy makers, she has also been instrumental in advocating, at both national and international conferences, for the establishment of affordable public childcare systems, both in Canada and around the world.
A strong advocate and campaigner, Poole-Cotnam’s work to champion childcare has always been clearly and firmly linked to the crucial role that childcare workers themselves play. As such, the issues of chronically low childcare worker wages, specifically in community based not-for-profit centres, are top of mind and drive her efforts to help erase Ontario’s gender wage gap.
Today, Poole-Cotnam continues to champion the work of her union by advocating to ensure no public dollars are allocated to big-box, for-profit, childcare providers, who have long been circling the liberal government to achieve this breakthrough.
The Olivia Chow Child Care Champion Award was established at the OFL 2011 Convention. The first recipient was Olivia Chow in recognition for her leadership on child care both in her earlier role as Toronto City Councillor and as a Member of Parliament (MP).