Council and its committees oversee the College’s self-regulation mandate
The work of the Ontario College of Teachers is simple: it accredits the programs and courses that people take to become and remain teachers; it certifies those who are qualified and competent to meet Ontario’s high standards; and it investigates complaints against members and conducts hearings as appropriate.
But regulating the teaching profession in the public interest is no simple feat. With more than 215,000 members, the College is Canada’s largest self-regulatory institution.
The decisions made by the College’s 37-member governing Council affect members in publicly funded schools and school systems across Ontario directly and indirectly. The College’s ethical and practice standards also permeate schooling in private and independent settings.
Elected members of Council bring classroom, school and school system experience to the Council table where policies and priorities are set and decisions are made to improve the teaching profession. Members appointed to Council by the provincial government bring the public perspective and their own varied backgrounds to the debate.
Prior to taking office, all Council members swear an oath to serve the public interest. Each member serves on a minimum of two statutory, standing or special committees. Council may establish ad hoc or special committees to examine specific policy issues or initiatives.
It’s the Executive Committee that oversees College business between quarterly Council meetings. The Executive Committee meets four times a year and is made up of at least seven members of Council, including the Chair, Vice-Chair and the chairs of the Investigation, Discipline, Fitness to Practise, Registration Appeals, Finance, Accreditation, and Standards of Practice and Education committees.
The Executive Committee reviews reports from all committees. It makes recommendations as appropriate, presents reports on policy initiatives to Council, and appoints Council members to special committees.
The Executive Committee may also direct the Discipline and Fitness to Practise committees to hold hearings to determine any allegations or to make an interim order directing the Registrar to suspend or impose terms and conditions on a member’s Certificates of Qualification and Registration.
The Executive, Investigation, Discipline, Fitness to Practise, and Registration Appeals committees are statutory. Standing and regulatory committees include Finance, Standards of Practice and Education, Accreditation, and Accreditation Appeal. Other special committees of Council include Quality Assurance, Election, Nomination, Human Resources and the Editorial Board.
Standing Committees must meet at least once a year. They may also meet at the request of Council, the Executive Committee or the Registrar and may hold additional meetings approved by the Executive.
Accreditation Committee members review and accredit teacher education programs at Ontario’s faculties of education and set policy direction for the accreditation of Additional Qualification courses, including principal and supervisory officer qualification programs.
Council members are key figures in how the College responds to complaints about individuals. Investigation Committee members determine if a complaint is dismissed or referred to a hearing.
Those on the Discipline and Fitness to Practise committees decide whether a member is guilty of professional misconduct, is incompetent or incapacitated, and if the member can continue in the profession.
Members of the College’s first Standards of Practice and Education Committee developed the practice and ethical standards that infuse education in Ontario. The committee has been responsible for the review and revision of the standards. It also reviews staff research and policy proposals and makes recommendations to Council.
When Professionally Speaking arrives in your mailbox, you receive a magazine whose editorial policy and content has been reviewed and approved by the Editorial Board.
Council members decide the College’s role in enhancing professionalism in teaching. They set the College’s annual budget and the membership fee that supports the College’s work.
When applicants are denied certification appeal, members of the Registration Appeals Committee adjudicate. The committee members review each case, assess the applicant’s qualifications against College registration criteria, and uphold the original decision or direct the Registrar to issue Certificates of Qualification and Registration.
These are important issues for every member of the College. Council members directly influence the future of public education. They examine and make recommendations regarding teacher pre- and in-service education.
The College has 11 legislated reponsibilities. It’s the job of Council’s Quality Assurance Committee to evaluate the College’s progress in fulfilling its mandate.
Self-regulation is a legal privilege. It means that the profession has the experience and capacity to determine and maintain standards of practice, to police its own members, and to recommend changes that shape the future of practice in the public interest.
Teachers have earned that privilege. Council members ensure that it is honoured.