This section provides updates on licensing and qualification requirements, notification of Council resolutions and reports from various Council committees, including reports on accreditation and discipline matters.
"Change is inevitable — and change within regulatory bodies is no exception," says Nicole van Woudenberg, OCT, College Chair, in her March issue column. While regulating in the public interest is a constant, the environment in which the College operates is always shifting. Bill 48, for example, introduces new legislation that will impact self-regulation and the teaching profession.
That's why it's important for the College to check in regularly and make sure strategic priorities are current and aligned with its mandate. With that in mind, Council met last fall to assess current College objectives and plan for the road ahead. The result was a revised set of strategic priorities with an emphasis on these three key areas:
In support of these priorities, the College refreshed its website, magazine and print materials. "We stand a better chance of increasing understanding by using language that is clear, simple and (as much as possible) jargon free," says Michael Salvatori, OCT, Registrar and CEO of the College. "And, by using social media and popular electronic platforms we're able to talk directly to people, seek their thoughts, and answer their questions quickly. Striving to remain open and transparent provides proof of our effectiveness. Transparency also enhances confidence in process.
"Strategic priorities provide a lens in support of effective decision-making," says Salvatori. With this set of targeted adjustments, the College can align its resources and efforts in support of students by continuing to regulate and promote excellence in teaching.
The College intervened in a case before the Supreme Court of Canada to provide perspective on student privacy and what constitutes acceptable professional conduct for teachers.
In the appeal of a criminal case involving a teacher who was charged with and acquitted of voyeurism in two lower courts after using a pen camera to take secret videos of his female students at school, the College intervened at the Supreme Court to argue for strong protections for student privacy in learning environments under the Criminal Code.
On February 14, 2019, the Supreme Court of Canada found Ontario teacher Ryan Jarvis guilty of voyeurism under the Criminal Code. Its decision in R. v. Jarvis upholds and strengthens student protection and privacy.
As an intervener in the case, the College provided background and information to help the Court make an informed decision on the appeal.
The Court's judgment reflects the College's arguments. For the majority, Chief Justice Wagner recognized "the understanding that school will be a safe environment and that teachers will work to keep it that way ... enhances students' expectations that teachers will scrupulously respect their privacy."
"We are proud to have contributed to this ruling and will continue our work to protect students," says Michael Salvatori, OCT, CEO and Registrar, Ontario College of Teachers. "Schools are safer today because of the Supreme Court's decision."
"Teachers are guided in their practice by the ethical standards of care, trust, respect and integrity," says Nicole van Woudenberg, OCT, Chair of Council, Ontario College of Teachers. "The ruling reinforces standards that professionals are expected to uphold."