College Will Require New Applicants
to Pass Criminal Record Check
New applicants to the College will be
required to provide a police report of a criminal record check before they are licensed to
teach in Ontario effective January 1, 1999.
The new policy applies to about 7,000 applicants annually teacher graduates from
Ontario faculties of education and out-of-province graduates and teachers applying for
College membership. Current College members are not affected by the new requirement.
The College Council agreed to the principle of a criminal record screening policy at
its February 1998 meeting to ensure greater public protection. Council struck a special
committee to develop a policy that complies with the Ontario Human Rights Code and is
based on the requirements of organizations in Ontario, in Canada and abroad. The committee
also developed guidelines to assist the Registrar in determining whether or not a past
conviction should bar an applicant from teaching in Ontarios publicly-funded
The final policy adopted by Council on September 24 also included a requirement
recommended by the committee that new applicants make a declaration about any past
offences that might affect their suitability for teaching, as well as resignations to
avoid discipline in other jurisdictions.
"The Colleges mandate is to establish and enforce professional and ethical
standards, and protect the public interest," said College Chair Donna Marie Kennedy.
"The College ensures that teachers are, and remain, highly skilled to practise their
profession and that they are worthy of the trust placed in them by students, parents and
their professional colleagues."
The policy will be evaluated one year after its implementation.
APPLICANTS BEAR COST
While current members are exempt from the requirement, the Ontario College of Teachers
Act requires school boards to report to the College any criminal conviction of a member
that indicates students might be at risk.
Applicants for registration in 1999 will be required to seek a criminal record check
from their local police service and include the original of the police report with their
application. The cost of the criminal record check varies between $15 and $53 in Ontario
and is paid for by the applicant. Depending on the agency used, a record check generally
includes searching the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC), local and regional
police databases and, occasionally, overseas information through the RCMP. Pardons do not
appear on criminal record check reports.
Being convicted of a criminal offence does not necessarily mean that a person will not
be allowed to teach. The Ontario College of Teachers Act
gives the final decision on registration applications to the College Registrar.
"Each case will be reviewed on its own merits," said Registrar Margaret
Wilson. "The College will consider factors like the nature of the offence, the time
elapsed since the conviction, rehabilitation efforts and behaviour since the offence was
committed. Applicants will be informed of the reasons why they have been refused
membership and have the opportunity to appeal through the Registration Appeals Committee
of the College."
A key issue for Council was to make sure that the policy complied with the Ontario
Human Rights Code. In Section 6, which deals with membership in professional
organizations, the Code is very specific, but does not include a record of offences as
possible ground for discrimination.
It says, "Every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to membership
in any trade union, trade, or occupational association or self-governing profession
without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place or origin, colour, ethnic origin,
citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or
Criminal record screenings have become common practice in Ontario and abroad. Most of
Ontarios 35 self-regulated professions including doctors, nurses, architects
and accountants require a declaration of criminal record upon registration, and
some seek updated information on an annual basis. A number of school boards in Ontario
already request criminal record screening reports, as do 37 U.S. states and school
authorities in England, Scotland and Australia.
Health professionals in Ontario are not only required to make a declaration of criminal
record, but professionals in health disciplines are also required by regulation to report
any criminal offence they have been convicted of. In addition, health professionals must
report another member if they are aware of that member sexually abusing a client.
The British Columbia College of Teachers has systematically required criminal record
checks of all of its members since 1995 under the provinces Criminal Record Review
Act, which lists 56 relevant offences that can bar someone from holding a specific
position, particularly in situations where children are involved. The list includes
offences like uttering threats, abduction of a person under 16, criminal harassment,
sexual exploitation, indecent acts and vagrancy.
The B.C. College has invested $250,000 in the program since its planning stages. So
far, it has come up with about 10 positive searches out of a membership of about 50,000,
and none of the positive findings has warranted the removal of a teacher from the
TEACHERS ARE COMMUNITY LEADERS
Canadas courts have ruled on many occasions that because of their important
position in society, teachers are expected to follow high ethical standards inside and
outside the classroom.
The June issue of Professionally Speaking
reported a ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1996 that stated, "It is on the
basis of the position of trust and influence that we hold the teacher to high standards
both on and off duty, and it is an erosion of these standards that may lead to a loss in
the community of confidence in the public school system."
The Council vote in favour of the new policy was unanimous, with both teacher and
public members supporting the committees recommendations. College Chair Donna Marie
Kennedy said, "The profession is responding with a concrete and reasonable measure to
a call from the public for increased vigilance."
British Columbia College Checks Records of All Members
The British Columbia College of
Teachers requires a criminal record check of all of its members to comply with the
provinces Criminal Records Review Act, which requires all professional groups in the
province to undergo record checks. The B.C. government passed the legislation in 1995 as
one of a series of measures to protect children.
The act lists 56 offences relevant to the consideration of a candidates
suitability as a teacher. The list includes offences ranging from aggravated sexual
assault and uttering threats to vagrancy and trespassing at night.
Information from the College is transferred electronically to the provinces
Criminal Records Review Agency for review. As of May 97, only 10 of some 50,000
members of the College were found to have a criminal record. Upon review, no member was
found to pose a threat to children.
From the early planning stages in 1995 to May 1997, the screening process has cost the
B.C. College about $250,000. The College pays for the cost of the screening.
Will Grant Recognition to Retired Teachers
The Ontario College of Teachers Council
has voted to recognize the contributions to students and society of retired members of the
profession. At its September meeting, Council decided that members of the College who
inform the College in writing of their decision to retire and withdraw from teaching will
be recognized with a Certificate of Recognition suitable for framing.
"Individuals dedication to education in this province should not go
unnoticed," said College Registrar Margaret Wilson. "We have developed this
initiative after consulting with the Retired Teachers of Ontario so that members who
retire will be recognized by their professional body for their valued contributions to our
schools and our communities over the years."
Should a member decide later to return to the ranks of teaching, they will be required
to reinstate their membership, whether theyre teaching full-time, part-time or
Retired teachers who wish to stay abreast of teaching developments in Ontario can also
receive a subscription to the College quarterly Professionally Speaking for $10
annually or $20 for subscriptions outside Canada.
Thames Valley Superintendent is New Council Member
The College member who finished second
in the supervisory officer category in the 1997 Council elections has stepped in to fill
the vacancy created by the incumbents resignation.
Bill Bryce is the superintendent of human resource services with the Thames Valley
District School Board in London. Before school board amalgamation, he had been
superintendent of personnel with the Middlesex County Board of Education since 1990.
Bryce has his BA and MA from the University of Waterloo and his BComm and MEd from the
University of Windsor. From 1971 to 1989, he was a secondary school teacher and
administrator in Windsor and is a frequent presenter at supervisory officer and
principals qualification courses.
Bryce replaces Lynn Daigneault who resigned from Council when she retired from the
profession. "We are all grateful to Lynn for her many contributions to the College
and to education," said College Chair Donna Marie Kennedy. "We will miss her and
we all wish her the best for a very enjoyable retirement."
Member Joins College Council
Ronald Rambarran is the vice-principal
of Columbia International College in Hamilton and a new member of the Ontario College of
Rambarran was the runner-up in the 1997 Council election for private and independent
schools representative and assumed his seat on Council when Frances Hill resigned. The
regulations that govern the Ontario College of Teachers specify that if an elected member
of Council resigns, the College member who received the second-highest vote is
automatically appointed if they are still willing to serve.
The new Council member has taught computer science, science and co-operative education
since 1980. He earned his BSc at McMaster University in 1975 and his BEd at the University
of Toronto in 1976. He has also taught continuing education with the Hamilton Board of
Education. Rambarran has also served on community boards including the Hamilton-Wentworth
Local Housing Authority, Hamilton-Wentworth Crimestoppers and the Hamilton-Wentworth
The first private school representative on Council, Frances Hill, resigned because she
is now teaching in the separate school system. College Chair Donna Marie Kennedy thanked
Hill for her energy and many contributions to the Councils deliberations. "On
behalf of all College members, I want to recognize the very significant time and effort
that Frances put into her professional body and her vigorous advocacy for private school
members. We all wish her well in her future career."
and Former Science Teacher
is Colleges New Senior Investigator
A former Toronto teacher who returned
to school to become a lawyer has joined the College as senior investigator with the
Investigations and Hearings Department.
Karen Spector took over in September as head of the team of investigators who
investigate complaints of professional misconduct, incompetence and fitness to practise
against members of the College. She also provides assistance to the Investigation
Committee and to College counsel during hearings.
From 1970 until 1983, Spector taught biology and physics in Toronto. In 1984, she
successfully completed her masters degree in education from Harvard University,
where she concentrated in interactive technology and developed educational software in the
area of physics.
In 1990, Spector returned to school to study law and was called to the Ontario bar in
1995. Since then, among other cases, she has assisted senior counsel before the Krever
Commission and represented health care professionals in disputes with their colleges.
"I believe my knowledge and experience as both a teacher and a lawyer will add
further credibility to this very important part of the Colleges mandate,"
Spector said. "Ive been very impressed with the high degree of professionalism
here both among staff and committee members."
Spector still treasures the professional and personal relationships from her teaching
career and notes that even former students continue to be close friends. One of
Spectors fondest memories involves an annual reunion hosted by her former department
head, which she attended for more than 20 years. "I enjoyed teaching a great deal and
have come to appreciate the value of the skills and experience that I acquired in the
classroom. I welcome the opportunity to apply them in my new position."
Spector replaces Claire Barcik, who left the College to pursue a personal project.
Patrick ONeill, Co-ordinator of the Investigations and Hearings Department, said
Barcik will be missed for her warmth, wit and extraordinary capacity for work.
"Claire made an outstanding contribution to the startup of our new investigation
process and her influence will be felt here for years to come."
Forged Credentials Bar Two From Classrooms
Two school teachers in Niagara and
Toronto have been ordered out of the classroom after the College discovered they forged
their teaching credentials. The two are among seven full-time teachers and many supply
teachers removed from classrooms because they do not meet Ontario teaching requirements.
The College turned over the documents submitted by the two to local police after staff
determined the documents were not authentic. The documents appeared forged and displayed
the signatures of ministers and deputy ministers not in office on the date of issue.
A Toronto Catholic School Board teacher created a forged OntarioTeachers
Certificate in 1993 from another she had received in error. She later submitted the forged
certificate to the College with her membership application.
Toronto police decided not to lay charges against her because she has no previous
criminal record and will no longer be allowed to teach in any publicly-funded school in
The other individual taught for the Welland County Roman Catholic Separate School Board
for two years while she was not certified by the College or the Ontario Ministry of
Education and Training.
When asked to submit her certificate by the College in June 1998, the woman supplied a
Temporary Letter of Standing she claimed was issued by the Ministry of Education and
Training in November 1997. However, the College had taken over issuing these credentials
from the ministry six months earlier.
In addition, she could not have obtained a Temporary Letter of Standing as she had
failed to meet requirements of the U.S. college where she studied.
Niagara police decided not to lay charges against the woman as she has no previous
criminal record and will no longer be allowed to teach in a publicly-funded school in
Discipline Panel Decisions
A panel of the Colleges
Discipline Committee has rendered their decisions in two cases. The panel directed that a
summary of the decisions and the reasons be published in Professionally Speaking.
Member: JOHN ARTHUR SANDERSON
Decision: Certificates of Registration and Qualification Revoked
Former Kent County teacher John Arthur Sanderson did not attend a public hearing on
October 19 on allegations of professional misconduct against him. Sanderson, 39, had been
certified in 1985. The Chatham resident agreed through a signed statement of facts to have
his Certificates of Registration and Qualification revoked.
The allegations of professional misconduct against Sanderson included abusing a student
physically, sexually, verbally, psychologically or emotionally, contravening a law if the
contravention has caused or may cause a student who is under the members
professional supervision to be put at or to remain at risk, and engaging in conduct
unbecoming a member.
The panel heard that Sanderson used his position of trust and authority to sexually
exploit one of his Grade 8 students. He engaged in sexual touching with the 13-year-old
girl and progressed to more intimate contact after her fourteenth birthday.
Sanderson was convicted in August 1994 of three charges under the Criminal Code and
sentenced to one year in jail on one charge, two years less one day on the second charge
and an additional two years less one day on the third charge. The concurrent sentences
were followed by a two-year probation period.
The panel found Sanderson guilty of professional misconduct and ordered the revocation
of his Certificates of Registration and Qualification. The decision of the panel will
appear on the Colleges public register.
Member: ROBERT GORDON WARREN
Decision: Certificates of Registration and Qualification Revoked
Former teacher Robert Gordon Warren did not attend the Colleges October 19
disciplinary hearing on allegations of professional misconduct against him. Warren, who is
61 and now resides in British Columbia, graduated as a teacher in 1960. He agreed through
a statement of facts to have his Certificates of Registration and Qualification revoked.
Warren taught in British Columbia and in Ontario for the Haliburton County Board of
Education in 19641965, the Brampton Separate School Board between 1965 and 1967 and
the Toronto Board of Education between 1976 and 1984.
The allegations of professional misconduct against Warren included abusing a student
physically, sexually, verbally, psychologically or emotionally, contravening a law if the
contravention has caused or may cause a student who is under the members
professional supervision to be put at or to remain at risk and engaging in a conduct
unbecoming a member.
The panel heard that Warren was found guilty of indecent assault on an 18-year-old male
in the mid-1960s.
In June 1988, he also pleaded guilty to a charge of gross indecency for an incident
involving two 15-year-old boys in Golden, B.C. He was sentenced to six months in custody
and three years of probation.
In June 1994, Warren pleaded guilty to a charge of indecent assault on a young Toronto
student dating back to 1976. He was sentenced to 18 months in custody and a three-year
probation period. In these last two cases, the panel heard that Warren supplied drugs and
alcohol to his victims before the assaults.
The panel found Warren guilty of professional misconduct and ordered the revocation of
his Certificates of Registration and Qualification. The decision of the panel will appear
on the Colleges public register.
Members, Public Invited to Comment on
Accreditation of Four Faculties
The Colleges Accreditation
Committee is seeking the views of graduates, parents, schools, community organizations and
members of the College on the pre-service teacher education programs at the University of
Ottawa (French and English), the University of Windsor and York University.
The four faculties will be reviewed for initial accreditation by the College of
Teachers this winter. Both the College and the faculties of education involved in the
pilot accreditation program this year recognize that a wide range of people and groups
across the province have valuable perspectives on the quality of programs that prepare
teachers to work in Ontario classrooms.
Interested parties are invited to submit written comments or request an opportunity to
make a presentation during the College accreditation panels visits to the faculties.
Comments or requests should be submitted by February 1, 1999, to:
Dr. Janice Thomson,
Manager, Accreditation Unit
Ontario College of Teachers
121 Bloor Street East, 6th Floor,
Toronto ON M4W 3M5
Comments or presentations must address substantive matters related to the quality of
professional education programs offered at the University of Ottawa (French and English),
the University of Windsor or York University. Respondents must identify themselves and
must specify their relationship, if any, to the institution (for example, graduate,
present or former faculty member, associate teacher). Copies of all correspondence will
become part of the accreditation review documents.
The College accreditation panels will visit the faculties to conduct their reviews on:
- February 711
University of Ottawa,
English language program
- February 1419
University of Ottawa,
French language program
- March 711
- March 2125
University of Windsor
Teaching Qualifications Top Agenda at College Seminar
More than 100 directors of education
and human resources representatives from across the province attended a College seminar on
October 16 to discuss teaching qualifications, College membership requirements and
The College organized the meeting to inform school boards of the work and
accomplishments of its first year, discuss the roles and responsibilities of the boards
and the College, and encourage continued co-operation.
"I am pleased by the level of co-operation between school boards across the
province and the College," said College Chair Donna Marie Kennedy. "We are
working very closely together to ensure that Ontario teachers are highly-qualified and
that teachers trained outside the province take the courses they need to meet
Ontarios standards, which are more stringent than those of many other
The College stressed the importance of making sure that all teachers in publicly-funded
schools are members in good standing of the College to ensure the best education possible
for Ontario students. As the professions regulatory body, the College is the only
organization in the province that can assure parents that teachers are fully qualified.
The meeting is part of a series of meetings with school boards, faculties of education
and the general public to explain the mandate and responsibilities of the College. The
College will host a community information session early next year for parents, community
groups and the general public.
Must Pay Annual Fees by April 15
to Maintain Certification
April 15, 1999 is the deadline for
Ontario College of Teachers members to pay next years $90 membership fee.
College membership fees as in other professional bodies are the
responsibility of individual members. However, the majority of College members who are
employed by school boards will continue to have their membership fee deducted from their
pay in early January.
About 40,000 members who pay their fees by invoice will receive only one invoice this
year as the College streamlines the payment process to simplify it for members and
employers and to cut administrative costs.
In February, the College will reconcile member information and payments received from
school boards with the registry of members and then mail an invoice to any teachers who
have not paid their 1999 membership fee by payroll deduction. Occasional teachers who are
unsure about how they pay their fees should check with their school boards payroll
The College mails invoices to home addresses listed on the registry. Members must
notify the College in writing within 30 days of any change of address. Members can fax the
form on page 39 of this magazine to the College at (416) 961-8822 to change their address.
Any members who have not had their membership fee deducted from their pay or received
an invoice in the mail by early March should call the Colleges Membership Services
Department at (416) 961-8800 or toll-free in Ontario 1-888-534-2222 and arrange direct
payment. Membership fees can be paid over the telephone by VISA, MasterCard or American
When payment is received either through payroll deduction or individual payments
the College will mail a 1999 Certificate of Qualification, a 1999 membership card
and a 1999 income tax receipt to every member with a valid home address on the registry.
Members who do not pay their fees by the deadline will be automatically suspended from
the College. Suspended teachers are not permitted to teach in any publicly-funded school
Teachers who are suspended for non-payment of fees will have to apply in writing for
reinstatement and pay the reinstatement fee of $100 plus the annual membership fee of $90,
for a total of $190.
Will See Improvements as College Streamlines and Establishes
Internal Standards for Services
Members should soon see the effects of
a wide range of measures that the Colleges Membership Services Department is taking
to reduce long waiting times on the phone and delays in processing members requests.
"Were making steady improvements," Membership Services Co-ordinator
Lynda Palazzi says as she explains that her department is refining systems and
establishing standards to improve client satisfaction while maintaining the Colleges
integrity as the licensing authority for the teaching profession in Ontario.
"We looked at all our processes and asked ourselves what do we have to do to
improve services and make sure that we remain entirely accountable to our members and the
Palazzi and members of the department articulate their commitment to customer service
in their new mission statement to ensure a courteous, accessible, consistent and
accurate response to member questions and requests within both specific timelines and
College regulatory parameters.
Membership Services offers clients direct services in English and in French that range
from answering requests for information to processing and evaluating applications for
registration and updating members files and certificates. The department is divided
into three units Client Services, Membership Records and Evaluation Services.
Client Services is the first point of contact with the College and receives on average
1,020 calls and 65 visits a day. The units call centre has been a whirlwind of
activity since day one, and the irregular distribution of calls through the day has meant
that callers have endured waits that could go up to 30 minutes at peak times.
"With the help of feedback from members, we have determined how we need to
reorganize," says Marina Brasil, Client Services Manager. "We will no longer
operate on a case-by-case basis, but rather on a streamlined process. Our goal over the
next six months is to be able to answer 70 per cent of the calls we receive within three
minutes, an industry standard for the kind of business we conduct."
In the future, client services assistants working at the call centre will only take
incoming calls, answering straightforward questions and providing updates on the status of
client files. To cut waiting times for caller, they will refer any case that requires
additional clarification to a client services researcher and get back to answering calls.
The researchers will call back to follow up with clients with complicated cases.
The Membership Records Unit is the backbone of the organization. It keeps track and
records the degrees, qualifications and specialization of every College member and is
critical to the work of client services assistants.
"Our database is enormous," says Anna Di Rezze, unit manager. "We have
more than 170,000 members who each have on average 10 documents linked to their file. Last
summer alone, we added about 12,000 Additional Qualifications to teachers
This unit is also streamlining operations and adopting specific timelines. Di
Rezzes goal is to process new applications from Ontario graduates and additional
qualifications within two weeks and to keep to a turnaround of six working days to batch,
scan and link documents to a specific teachers file. On average, the unit receives
six bins each containing 650 documents per day.
Such definite timelines mean, however, that the unit cannot process files that do not
have all the required information, a point of particular interest to new applicants. Files
received with incomplete information will be returned to the sender with a letter
detailing the missing documents.
Corrections for existing members will be made within six to eight weeks from the time
the College receives all the necessary information. The College will not send a corrected
certificate for the current year unless the member requests one. A new Certificate of
Qualification costs $25.
Evaluation Services is the trouble-shooting arm of the department, called in to resolve
the most complex issues and deal with other licensing bodies and governments around the
world. Evaluators have specialized areas of expertise, for example, the countries of the
former Eastern Bloc, the United States or countries that offer teacher training in French.
"There is not a day that we dont face complex issues," says Evaluation
Services Manager Barbara Robinson. "Ontario is a destination of choice for immigrants
and we have teachers from all over the world applying to the College. We have to have
highly-specialized staff to evaluate their credentials and confirm the validity of the
information presented to us."
The unit has set a goal of 10 working days to evaluate credentials of out-of-province
and out-of-country applicants and to determine Additional Qualifications equivalencies.
However, these processes cannot start until all the required documents have arrived at the
College. It can take a considerable amount of time sometimes up to a year
for the College to receive the required original documents necessary to evaluate
credentials for out-of-province or out-of-country applicants.
SAFEKEEPING THE INTEGRITY
OF THE PROFESSION
The re-alignment of services and the new timelines are tools for the department to
evaluate its performance. The most important performance measure, however, remains the
assurance that only fully-qualified teachers are certified to teach in Ontario.
"When I look at the registry and I see that this person has this certificate, I
want to know that I have all the documents to prove it and that they are authentic,"
says Palazzi. "Timelines are important, but integrity is even more important.
Its in the best interest of the public and the profession."
Services Answers the Phone
By Rebecca Cossar
"Good morning. Client Services. How may I help you?"
"Oh, hello. Finally. Ive been on hold for 15 minutes. I was just about to put
the phone down."
"Sorry to keep you waiting. Our registry system was down earlier and its
created a bit of a backlog."
"Well, thats fine but Im teaching in five minutes and its taken
me forever to get access to a phone. Three other teachers werent so lucky."
"Well, yes, the phones are very busy at lunchtime. Is there something I can help
"OK. Its my certificate. I took my BA at Windsor, not York, in 1982, not
1986, and its an Honours degree. I didnt do the fourth year for nothing."
"No, of course not. Now, if I could just have your registration number please,
Ill check up on your file for you
Exchanges like this take place hundreds of times a day at the College. Client Services
staff interact with teachers, school boards, faculties, parents, and members of the public
on a myriad of different topics ranging from certificate corrections to fee payments to
complex qualifications issues.
The College call centre, equipped with state of the art Automatic Call Distribution
(ACD) technology, is capable of handling and distributing 1000 calls a day to 20 agents,
providing continually updated information on system conditions (wait times, call handling
times, abandoned calls) and sophisticated agent and supervisor features.
Sounds impressive. But not when callers wait 20 minutes. And not when the calls that do
get through turn out to be complicated document authentication inquiries requiring further
communication with outside agencies or detailed qualification questions requiring
extensive research in College archives.
Like this one
"But Ive been teaching Grades 9 and 10 science for the past 20 years and now
I want you to add it to my Record Card, I mean my Certificate of Qualification. My board
has asked all of us to get our qualifications updated."
"Well, according to your teacher record, you have Intermediate and Senior Math and
"But, I havent taught Math for years. My degree was in Science. I graduated
teachers college in 1975 with my HSA (High School Assistants Certificate) Type
B and Ive been teaching science and geography ever since. What I want you to do is
delete Math and add Science. I couldnt teach Math to save my life."
JUST THE FACTS
"Im sorry, but we cant add a qualification to your certificate unless
you take the Additional Basic Qualification at a faculty of education. And we cant
remove a qualification either."
"But, Im telling you, I cant teach Math. My board will ask me to teach
Math if you leave it on my certificate."
"What I can do is request a search for your records from teachers college in
1975 and we can check up on your original qualifications. I can also let you know when
Intermediate Science General is being offered by the faculties so that ..."
Certification questions and qualification inquiries have become key issues for a
profession that now has to regulate itself. With the release in August 1997 of 160,000
teaching certificates, the Membership Services Department of the College has been swamped
with requests for information, clarification, and correction of qualifications dating back
to the 60s, and with applications for equivalent standing and reassessment of
qualifications based on teacher education courses completed in all parts of the world.
Its little wonder that teachers are scrambling to get their credentials in order
as they begin to see the staffing implications of school board mergers, new funding
models, revised legislation, teacher retirements, new curriculums.
The Colleges call centre consultants quickly realized that this is no ordinary
call centre. Yes, there were the usual requests to change names and addresses, to order
registration guides and duplicate certificates. But many of the members and applicants who
call have complex questions on the qualification requirements for particular teaching
assignments or for taking Additional Qualifications, and on the regulatory requirements
for moving from one level of certification to another.
"No, your Letter of Eligibility is not a licence to teach."
"So how do I get a teaching certificate?"
"Do you have a job offer?"
"No, I cant get a job without a teaching certificate."
"Actually, a board can offer you a job based on your Letter of Eligibility.
Its an indication to prospective employers that your teacher education program
completed outside Ontario has satisfied the academic and professional requirements for
certification in Ontario."
"So why cant I teach?"
"Because the Letter of Eligibility means eligibility to seek employment in
publicly-funded schools in Ontario. It allows you to apply for teaching positions, attend
interviews and accept a teaching assignment. But before you begin teaching, you have to
get the Letter of Eligibility signed by a Supervisory Officer and converted into an
Interim Certificate of Qualification."
"So thats when I get my real certificate?"
"Your Interim Certificate of Qualification is valid for six years and qualifies
you to teach but within that time you need to accumulate the equivalent of one year of
successful teaching experience, certified by a Supervisory Officer, to convert your
Interim Certificate to a permanent certificate ..."
Principals Duties Include Communications
An amendment to Regulation 298 of the Education
Act regarding the duties of principals came into force this July, requiring
principals to communicate and distribute to school council members any information he or
she receives from the Ministry of Education and Training pertaining to school councils.
Principals are also required to communicate the names of council members to parents by
the end of September of each school year, either through a school newsletter or in such a
way that it "is likely to bring the names to the attention of the parents." As
well, supporters of the local school board who ask for the names of school council members
have the right to those names under the amended regulation.
Approves 1999 Budget
The Ontario College of Teachers
membership fee for 1999 remains unchanged at $90 after Council set the Colleges
operating budget for next year at $16 million.
The Colleges 1999 revenue budget is based on an estimated membership next year of
165,200. Although the current membership has passed 170,000, the Finance Committee
recommended a more conservative number in light of the high numbers of teachers retiring
The expense budget approved by Council on September 25 is very similar to the budgeted
amounts for 1998. Council members approved a Finance Committee recommendation to budget
for a slight reduction in the number of cases heard by the Discipline Committee next year.
However, the Council recognized that Investigations and Hearings Department activities
could run over budget in any one year depending on the number and type of cases being
heard. The Finance Committee recommended that Council approve a conservative budget and
dip into reserve funds if there are an unusual number of expensive discipline cases.
Revenue that is generated as a result of a higher than expected membership is collected
in a reserve for working capital. Should membership in the College exceed 165,200 next
year, Council approved the allocation of additional revenue to the reserve fund.
The College was also able to save over $100,000 in costs associated with producing and
mailing Professionally Speaking.
"I am very pleased with this years budgeting process," said Paul
Charron, Chair of the Finance Committee. "It moved forward in a very orderly fashion,
allowing for the input and full participation of the committees of Council and the
departments within the College.
"It is a conservative budget, as many budgets are," said Charron, "but
it is one that allows the College to hold membership fees at their current level."
Ontario College of Teachers
(Amounts in thousands of dollars)
|1. Annual Membership Fees
|2. Other Fees
|3. Interest and Other
|4. Employee Compensation
|5. Council and Committees
|6. General Services to
|7. Professional Affairs
|8. Investigations and
|9. Operating Support (2)
|11. Asset Amortization and
|Excess of Revenue over