December 1997

Legislation, Certificates Keep College Busy

Minister accepts College recommendation on withdrawal of clauses on "different classes of teachers" from Bill 160.

Registrar's Report


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By Margaret Wilson

Most of the College’s focus in recent weeks has been on the proposals in Bill 160 which appeared to undermine our mandate to certify and set standards of qualification and practice for the teaching profession.

The potential establishment of different classes of teachers – some College members and some not – flew in the face of our responsibility to govern our profession in the public interest. The prompt, clear response from the College Council that Ontario’s students deserve to be taught by qualified teachers obviously struck home with the public.

The Minister of Education and Training responded to our concerns and agreed to meetings between College staff and ministry officials.

The government has now withdrawn the four clauses which could have been used to establish a parallel regulatory structure and has clarified that its intent is to deal with "the duties and minimum qualifications of persons who are assigned to assist teachers or to complement instruction by teachers in elementary or secondary schools."

Those of you who already work with other professionals and paraprofessionals will be aware of a number of existing ministry policy memorandums which define duties and qualifications for non-teachers.

We Apologize

We have heard from many members in the last few months about errors in the certificates the College mailed to teachers. We’re sorry for any inconvenience caused by these errors. We are working hard to correct them.

The information on the certificates was collected by the College from the Ministry of Education and Training, school boards and private schools, and members’ personal applications. These records had been kept in a variety of ways – electronic data files, microfiche, microfilm, several different kinds of paper records – and transferring them to the College was a real challenge.

When we set out to provide teachers with complete and up-to-date Certificates of Qualification we suspected that some teachers’ records were missing important information such as name changes or additional degrees or qualifications that might not have been reported to the ministry.

That’s why we sent a form along with the certificates for teachers to correct any errors in their certificates.

20-Year-Old Errors

However, after we mailed the certificates, we learned that the dates on teachers’ degrees earned before 1977 were wrong. When the Ontario Teacher’s Certificate was introduced almost 20 years ago, the dates when degrees were conferred were replaced in the electronic records by the year that the information was entered into the ministry’s database. In some cases, the problem continued after 1978. The record cards (OTQRCs) issued by the ministry didn’t display these dates, so teachers didn’t detect the errors.

This problem and data entry errors in the ministry records were the major sources of errors in the College’s 1997 certificates. Other errors were mostly due to the problems that come with trying to translate information from a variety of sources into one complete record.

The College has launched a major initiative to correct these errors. We have asked teachers to let us know about any errors in the certificates so we can make the corrections before issuing the 1998 certificates. College staff are working evening and weekend shifts to straighten this problem out.

Help Us Get it Right

We’ve mailed posters that set out how these errors can be corrected to every public, separate and private school in the province, along with extra correction forms. If you need more information, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions in this issue of Professionally Speaking.

The College will be issuing the 1998 Certificate of Qualification early next spring to all members in good standing. To ensure that your future certificates accurately reflect your qualifications, please notify us as soon as possible of any errors in your 1997 certificate.