2012 saw the election of the College’s sixth Council. My colleagues on Council re-elected me as Chair of Council and I am grateful for the confidence they have in me to continue to represent our profession.
Review of our disciplinary processes and practices
Reflection and review are cornerstones of our operational structure. We continually examine what we do and how we do it to ensure we continue to serve the public interest effectively and to inspire public confidence in the teaching profession's ability to regulate itself in the public interest.
That’s why the College commissioned former Ontario Chief Justice Patrick LeSage, in the summer of 2011, to evaluate our discipline processes and practices. Forty-nine recommendations later, he’s given the College a blueprint for change to strengthen our ability to serve the public interest.
In June 2012, the College Council approved most of these recommendations and ordered further study on a few, and directed those that require legislative change to the provincial government for action.
In the meantime, the College has established tighter timelines for scheduling disciplinary hearings and providing support to committees to ensure discipline cases are decided in a more timely manner.
Bringing together teachers, the public and professional regulators
In the fall, members of the public, educators and education stakeholders and professional regulators attended the very successful College conference Inspiring Public Confidence in Toronto.
The conference attracted 235 participants from B.C. to Newfoundland, and from as far away as Japan and England. There were 24 workshops – 20 in English and four in French. The presenters addressed trending topics that challenged minds and touched hearts in three streams: professional regulation, acting in the public interest and effective practices and research in teacher education.
The conference featured keynote addresses by Wendy Mesley, the award-winning television host and reporter and Stephen Lewis, one of Canada’s most influential commentators on social affairs and human rights.
To see the highlights of what Mr. Lewis said about public education, controversy and the role of the College, check out the College’s YouTube channel.
Joseph W. Atkinson scholarship
In 2012, the College named Jennifer Parker as the 10th recipient of the Joseph W. Atkinson Scholarship for Excellence in Teacher Education.
Ms. Parker has tutored elementary students and prison inmates and helped renovate a school in El Salvador. The Queen’s University teacher candidate has served food at the school’s soup kitchen, taken lecture notes for students with learning disabilities and baked pies to raise funds for Easter Seals.
Her four-page resume brims with community involvement and exceptional academic achievement.
Articulate and primed for leadership, Ms. Parker has served as a student trustee in high school and a student senator at university.
She earned an Honours BA and will complete her BEd in 2013. She is studying to become qualified in Intermediate and Senior division geography and history.
Council members have shown a real commitment to decision making in the public interest. These men and women understand the complexities of our profession and bring their own insightful wisdom to the work that we do. College staff members continue to work hard to ensure that our members get the best service possible. They support the teaching profession every day through the expertise and commitment they bring to their work. To all of them, I offer my admiration and thanks.
Last May 20th was our 16th birthday as the regulatory body for Ontario’s teaching profession. It is therefore timely – in reflecting on our years in existence – to recognize our strengths but most importantly, to look at areas where we can improve.
In 2011, the College asked former Ontario Chief Justice Patrick LeSage to evaluate our discipline processes and practices and to provide recommendations on areas for improvement.
In June 2012, we released the report and the very helpful recommendations that focused on increasing efficiency and enhancing transparency. Our College Council responded to the report with enthusiasm and provided direction in June to enhance public confidence in our profession’s ability to govern itself in the public interest.
Council’s directions focused on measures to improve the transparency and productivity of the entire investigation and discipline process to ensure it is conducted fairly, quickly and efficiently.
By following through, we assure the public that we treat complaints made against members of the profession in a timely manner.
One way of doing so is to shorten timelines from the very beginning of an investigation. This means tighter periods for reporting information about teacher misconduct or incompetence from boards to the College, from the College to members, and from the College to the public.
During the year, we have also linked discipline decisions to our public register on our website and we will also link hearing notices to the public register to create greater transparency for employers and the public.
A fresh new face
The College has been presenting a fresh new face to the world, with a relaunched website designed to help you get the information and support you need whether you’re using your desktop computer, a tablet or your smartphone.
The new website, which we launched in November, gives members and the public easier navigation and direct paths to most-used information and applications. The cutting-edge responsive web design means it adjusts automatically to whatever device is used to access it, revising menus to maximize display and navigation.
The site is organized to make it easy for members of the public, teachers and applicants to find the information they want and access the services they need.
Now our interactions with applicants, members and the public are almost entirely electronic. Our new website recognizes this changed reality and makes it easier and more economical to find ways to make interacting with the College more convenient.
Supply and demand of teaching positions
In the summer, for the eleventh consecutive year, the College surveyed teachers in their first five years in the profession. The Transition to Teaching study presents an in-depth look at the early careers of new members.
Our study, made possible by a grant from the Ministry of Education, is part of the College’s efforts to better understand the realities faced by our newest members.
The survey reveals that Ontario is still experiencing a growing surplus of teachers.
More new teachers are unemployed in their first school year than ever before. Many of those with jobs are underemployed. And more are taking up alternate work in non-teaching occupations.
More Ontario graduates than in past years left the province in search of teaching jobs.
Both elementary and secondary qualified teachers face high levels of unemployment and underemployment. Very few get regular teaching contracts in their first year after graduating - regardless of their qualifications.
The effects of the weakening employment market continue to be felt by many French-language teachers. Half of them now report they are unemployed or underemployed in the first year following graduation. And most new Canadians in their first year following Ontario certification are also unemployed.
Philip Capobianco, who works at Notre Dame High School in the Ottawa Catholic District School Board, was named the first recipient of the College’s Inspiring Public Confidence Award. The award is presented to an individual who works in the public education sector and has significantly contributed to the public’s confidence in Ontario education.
To see a short video on the impact Mr. Capobianco has within his school, I invite you to watch the College’s YouTube channel.
In January 2012 John Tucker was reappointed to Council for a two-year term retroactive to the date of his previous term's expiry on October 24, 2011.
Council appointed Stefanie Achkewich, OCT, to fill the vacancy in the Private School position effective November 15, 2012 after Dave Bird, OCT, resigned from Council on September 20, 2012.
I would like to express my appreciation to members of the College’s Council and staff for their expertise, the care they bring to our work and their ongoing commitment to inspiring public confidence.