Professionalism & Transparency
The College is accountable to the public and committed to transparency in the regulation of the teaching profession.
Our work is open and accessible. Helping people understand who we are and what we do is an important part of serving the public interest.
Professionalism and transparency are at the heart of building public trust and respect for the teaching profession. In the last several years, the College has placed greater focus in communicating and engaging with the public in meaningful ways.
Public confidence in the profession expands with greater awareness and understanding of the practice and ethical standards that teachers are guided by and demonstrate every day in their schools and learning communities.
Last December, the provincial government passed Bill 37, the Protecting Students Act, bringing changes into law to better protect students. The law also makes the College’s investigations and hearings practices and processes more efficient, open and transparent. These long-sought changes reflect the commitments our Council has made based on advice of former Ontario Chief Justice Patrick LeSage.
The Act includes 11 key changes:
- A member’s certificate will be automatically revoked if he or she is found to have committed an act of professional misconduct involving sexual abuse of a student, as specified in the Ontario College of Teachers Act, or a prohibited act involving child pornography.
- Definitions and/or interpretations of “professional misconduct,” “prohibited act involving child pornography,” and “sexual misconduct” have been added to the Ontario College of Teachers Act.
- If a person has had a certificate revoked for committing an act of professional misconduct that involves sexual abuse of a student, sexual misconduct or a prohibited act involving child pornography, an application to have a new certificate issued shall not be made earlier than five years from the date the certificate was revoked.
- Employers are required to provide information within the time specified in writing by the College or, if no time period is specified, within 30 days of receiving the request.
- A member is provided with 60 days (or another time frame set by the Investigation Committee) to respond to a complaint.
- Confidentiality provisions were expanded to, among other things, allow the College to share information with bodies that govern professions inside or outside of Ontario and with a police officer, to aid an investigation related to a law enforcement proceeding.
- If a member has been convicted or found guilty of an offence under the Criminal Code (Canada) for the same conduct or action that is the subject matter of a complaint, the member and the Investigation Committee may agree to fast-track the process of sending the matter to the Discipline Committee.
- If a panel of the Investigation, Discipline or Fitness to Practise committees is hearing or reviewing a matter related to the conduct of a person who was a principal or vice-principal at the time the conduct occurred, the panel must include at least one person who is employed as a principal or a vice-principal, or who was previously employed as such, and is still a member of the College.
- In situations where the Discipline Committee may order that the public be excluded from a hearing, it may order publication bans of information disclosed at these hearings.
- The Registrar may appoint an investigator if: (1) the Registrar believes on reasonable and probable grounds that the conduct of the member exposes, or is likely to expose, one or more students to harm or injury, and that the investigator should be appointed immediately; and (2) there is not time to seek approval from the Executive Committee.
- Summaries of all Discipline Committee decisions must be published in Professionally Speaking/Pour parler profession if the member has been found guilty of professional misconduct or to be incompetent.
The College welcomes these changes in the new legislation and looks forward to continuing our work with the provincial government to protect the public interest.
Greater Public Awareness and Meaningful Engagement
Public understanding of the role and work of the College reached a four-year high in 2016, well surpassing the benchmarks set before the launch of the public awareness initiative.
For example, the number of survey respondents who can accurately identify the College as setting ethical standards for teachers now stands at 85 per cent. Those who say that the College issues licences to teach, and may suspend or cancel those licences, now stand at 76 per cent — an increase of 10 per cent.
The College continued to build on the public awareness initiative launched in 2014. We attended more events, spoke to more people and had more meaningful one-on-one interactions. It was a busy year for outreach, but also a successful one. We engaged the public in a number of ways, including:
- meeting with Parent Involvement committees and trustees;
- participating in school board parent conferences;
- distributing College information through district school boards; and
- attending community events.
We also looked for additional ways to communicate with parents and the broader community, including distributing our Quiz for Parents brochure (which includes information on who we are and what we do) to Ontario Early Year Centres; writing articles for a new community-based parent newsletter and sponsoring posts on parent blogger websites.
We also expanded our social media footprint with the addition of Pinterest and Instagram accounts, while generating more content on existing properties including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.
The College has a legislated duty to educate its members. By periodically issuing professional advice, we help to meet that expectation. Professional advisories aim to guide and enhance professional practice and are developed in close consultation with members, subject experts and stakeholders. To ensure optimal awareness, the College creates comprehensive rollout strategies to inform its members and to show the public that teachers are committed to their professionalism.
In 2016, the College revised the Additional Qualifications: Extending Professional Knowledge, professional advisory. The updates:
- reflect changes to initial teacher education introduced in September 2015 via the Enhanced Teacher Education Program;
- include new Additional Qualifications and name changes to some;
- clarify supervisory officer qualification requirements;
- include all Teachers’ Qualifications Regulation schedules; and
- provide additional links to resources.
The advisory recognizes that ongoing professional learning is an integral part of teaching and reflects the ongoing review and updating of teachers’ qualifications by the College, its members and education partners.
Increased Access to Disciplinary Decisions
By the end of 2016, College members and members of the public will have had access to more than 700 discipline decisions on our website, involving College members over the past 20 years.
In 2016, the College expanded access to all disciplinary decisions, including making them available on the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII), a world-renowned database operated by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada.
Free, bilingual and easily searchable, this database was created to make it faster and easier for the public and legal professionals to access documents, such as disciplinary decisions and high-quality legal commentary on Canadian court decisions.
The College also continues to provide public access to disciplinary decisions in other ways:
- Copies of Discipline Committee decisions are available in the College’s Margaret Wilson Library. Members of the public can also request electronic versions of the decisions.
- The College provides full decisions to Quicklaw, one of several professional Canadian legal research services available to service subscribers.
- Summaries of Discipline Committee decisions appear in the College’s official publication Professionally Speaking, as well as on the College’s website.
- The College’s public register, Find a Teacher, also plays an important role in communicating the decisions of our Discipline Committee.
- Where member’s licences have been impacted by a disciplinary hearing, the College provides this information to educational authorities throughout the world.
Reviewing College Registration Practices
Our ongoing review of registration practices initiated in 2007 ensures that our procedures, information and guidelines are clear and transparent.
To learn more about the College’s commitment to fair registration practices, see the full report.
Find a Teacher
Find a Teacher was the most viewed section on the College website, with 11.5 million page views in 2016. Our public register of all College members includes details about qualifications and credentials, and a notation of every revocation, cancellation and suspension of a Certificate of Qualification and Registration.
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- our advice to teachers on the use of social media, professional misconduct and student safety; and
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Sign up to receive our public e-newsletter, The Standard, and learn more about:
- our mandate;
- teacher qualifications;
- high standards in education;
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- education legislation.
College members can subscribe online to the electronic newsletter Your College and You to stay up-to-date on College news. It provides early access to new developments in the activities of the College and the teaching profession.
Read Our Magazine in Print or Online
Professionally Speaking, our quarterly magazine for members, provides insight into education trends, best practices for teachers and the governance of the teaching profession. The magazine is available by subscription or free online.
Professionally Speaking is one of public education’s largest circulation magazines in North America.
Discover the Data in Annual Reports
The College’s previous annual reports are available on our website and are loaded with information. Explore a wide range of statistical information available about Ontario Certified Teachers.
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